At Tropical Discovery we are in the business of creating vacation experiences that will surpass even the most discerning of travelers’ expectations. Operating in an area of unimaginable natural beauty, culture and variety, we offer only the best available accommodations, transportation, guides, adventure and culture tours, etc.., we are sure to deliver on this commitment. Please read some of our guests’ comments describing their experience with us. Feel free to ask us for references, we would be happy to provide them... For testimonials by our French, German or Spanish speaking clients, please click on desired language.
We look forward to serving you!
We had a wonderful time in Guatemala, which we found to be a truly interesting destination. The arrangements made by Tropical Discovery were impecabble. Hotels, transfers, drivers, all as promised, reliable and very high standard. We were very pleased with the service. Yes, you can use the comments. Thanks again.
Jerry Kramer - New York, USA
With a few exceptions everything went very smooth. The minor hiccups would be the check in at The Hotel Panama, the fact that Coppa airlines lost our reservation and didn't want to let us get on the plane (nothing to do with Tropical Discovery... just one of those things) and 3 out of the 4 of us had stomach problems at some point in Guatemala. Panama was very nice, and we really loved Antigua. The weather was perfect, Casa Encantada was perfect, and it was such a fun city to take photos in! Also, speaking of photos, Tikal was great! I was pleasantly surprised by how nice the Jungle lodge was, and we were able to tag along with an Audubon society group for a sunrise climb of one of the temples, and got some great photos of monkeys and toucans. Belize was nice... San Pedro was a bit dismal, but the snorkeling, and ocean in general was lovely, and the Pelican Reef Villa was everything we could have hoped for and more. Thank you again so much for all your help, and patience with all my many questions! Have a happy Easter! Best,
Joy Horsley - Rochester, MN
Panama, Guatemala, Belize Vacation
Thanks so much for your email. My husband and I had a wonderful time in Guatemala, especially in Chichicastenango, as we love markets and bartering with people. Also, we got to see the pre-Easter processions both in Chichicastenango and in Antigua, which were fascinating. The painted “carpets” on the roads were certainly beautiful. We also found the markets in Antigua were very good. We love Guatemala and its people and would like to thank you and your staff for a memorable trip and making everything go so smoothly. Also, Oracio was very helpful in showing us points of interest and explaining things to us.
I was wondering why there wasn’t a lot of information about going to the Pacific beaches. Is that because there is not too much there? Or possibly that there are other more interesting places. Also, restaurant referrals might be a nice idea. We tried several which we found in magazines at the hotel, but we did not like them very much. Then we finally went to La Fonda de la Calle Real, which was excellent. Perhaps you could have an agreement with some of the restaurant owners as you do with the hotels, and get a commission for referring them. Also, we absolutely loved our hotel. The beds were very comfortable, the rooms were very clean and quiet, and the staff was very professional and helpful, and the breakfast was very nice.
Yes, you may use my comments. Thanks again for everything. Best regards,
Marylou McKoy - Coral Gables, FL
Thanks for checking in. Our vacation was generally very good. Belize is a great country, with friendly and well educated people, and nicely preserved natural beauty.
My wife and I were very impressed with the service Tropical Discovery provided. The reservations, air and ground connections all went off without a hitch. You never quite know what you're getting when you make arrangements sight unseen, so we were quite impressed that things went as planned.
As for the specific hotels where we stayed, we had two great experiences and one fair one. The Inn at Robert's Grove was the hands down favorite. It helped that we liked Placencia quite a bit, but the Inn accommodations, staff, and facilities were all top shelf. Hidden Valley Inn was very good and met our goals for a jungle/inland experience. Their property is outstanding and the staff very good. We were let down by our stay at Hotel Portofino. We felt it wasn't a very good value. The staff was of inconsistent quality, about half good, a quarter fair, and a quarter not very pleasant. The accommodations were fine but not exceptional. We wouldn't stay there again.
One other service deserves note. Both our ground transfers (from Placencia to Hidden Valley and from Hidden Valley to Belize City for the flight to Ambergris Caye) were provided by Cayo Adventure Tours. We also arranged two tours while at Hidden Valley, one of which was done by their exceptional staff and one of which was done by Cayo. All the Cayo folks were great, making the ground transfers in particular, less of a van ride and more of a guided tour. The Cayo trips may have been arranged through the Hidden Valley, but however it came to pass I would recommend them.
Thanks for your efforts in bringing our vacation together. We would recommend Tropical Discovery to others, particularly for complicated vacations across multiple sites.
We'd be fine if you'd like to publish our comments in your "Guest Comments" section. We'd appreciate the screened contact you describe in your email (I get enough email as it is). Thanks,
Brian Johnson - Portland, OR
I spoke with Mrs. Greenman yesterday and she was very pleased with the arrangements you made. They loved the resort and she couldn’t believe she actually did all the walking involved in the tour. I will definitely contact you again when I have clients going to Central America and I will recommend your company to others in my office.
Karen Stott - Frosch Travel, USA
Back from our vacation in Guatemala,I have to declare that we are most satisfied with service received and we are most grateful with your job.Everything happened according to our expectations. I am recommending Tropical Discovery to friends and relatives. Many thanks.
Angel and Concha Muñoz - Madrid, Spain
Just a quick note to say how impressed we were with the organisation of our holiday- many thanks. The drivers were fantastic- on time, respectful and safe!
We were particularly bowled over by Casa Encandata, Casa Palopa and La Lancha
- fabulous hotels. Thanks again for all your help pre-holiday with the itinerary and for organising everything.
It may be useful for your records to remember the noise at Nana Juana- Friday and Saturday nights are local party nights and the noise travelled across the water and penetrated ear plugs- until 3am. This coupled with some half built buildings and major pool renovations meant that we would not recommend this hotel at present.
Everything else was great- thanks! Kind regards,
Kate Mitchell - Camborne, UK
Yes we had a great holiday thanks to your great planning, guides and drivers. The only problem we had was in Antiqua. While we were there was no hot water for the two days we stayed there and we ended up with a credit for one of the two days. That does happen and you just have to not let those things get to you. Everything that you put together for us was just perfect. We never waited for any of the guides or drivers and they were all equally very good at what they do. We had asked all of the guides and drivers that do work for you and they all enjoy working with your company. On the other end having any dealings with Via Venture was just the opposite. There pricing is way out of line and none of the guides drivers had to many nice things to say about that company. We are thinking of going to Panama and possibly Columbia in the near future and will defiantly require your services. Many thanks to one of the best travel companies that we have contracted over our many travels. We have no problem if anyone wants to contact us. On another note Flavia from Hascienda San Lucas has one of the best drivers that we have ever had in Central America. His name is Jimmy. Also we had a walking tour in Antigua with a man named Hugo A Lemus that was one of the best men we have ever met. This man should be given a metal. He speaks from his heart and loves his country. He can be reached at 5203 0673. It is always a real gift to come away after meeting so many wonderful people. This has been one of our best trips to date. We all thank you,
Gary, Darlene, Dani and Richard - Canada
We had a great time in Belize! The base staff was very helpful, provisioning with Lagniappe was flawless, the boat was in great shape and sailed well. The locals were very friendly and helpful, which was pleasant to see after spending a lot of time in the BVI's! We will probably do a one-way to Placencia next time so we can spend more time exploring the islands, snorkeling, and diving. Thanks for all of your help organizing our trip, your knowledge and responsiveness was much appreciated.
Yes, you can post this in the "Guest Comments".
I look forward to booking trips with you again in the near future. Thank you,
Ben Shick - San Francisco, CA
My travels were good in Honduras. Your service exceeded my expectations and the driver was waiting for us upon arrival in San pedro sula and drove us in a safe and timely fashion to la ceiba. Everything went according to schedule and I would recommend service.
You can publish comment!
Matt Turko - Florida USA
My friends enjoyed every minute of their trip. The hotels were perfect and they almost died from exhaustion on the last day of their trip trying to climb the Volcano. They couldnt even walk to the table for dinner!!!
We had it served in the T:V: room
They went home, but they will be back next year and I will recommend you to all my friends that come.
They enjoyed the Guides and I really felt very proud.
Thank you so much for taking care of them, and Happy Holidays to all of you.
Bela de Russ - Israel
My recent trip to the Peten was absolutely heavenly. It was a complete break from all of the pressures of the modern world.....total immersion in the natural splendor of the jungle and the mystery of the Mayan ruins. Your help in making arrangements for the Villas Maya hotel was most appreciated. I cannot recommend this hotel too highly....the rooms are very comfortable and well equipped, the restaurant has freshly prepared, delicious food and the service is personalized and very attentive.
I am planning a another trip to the Peten next year, when we will stay again at the Villas Maya. I am planning to hike from Yaxha to Nakum and perhaps spend the night camping there. There may be other ruins we will explore as well, but this is as far as our planning has gone right now.
Thanks again for your help in obtaining our reservation there...it is a very special place to stay. Have a great holiday season,
Candis Krummel - USA
Many thanks for your e-mail and I apologize for the delay, but we have just returned home and I am now back to the Office. I really appreciate you are getting back to me. Of course, you may use our comments to share our "astonishing"experience with other Travel Discovery future e-bookers/travellers. I would very delighted to help and recommend other tourists about your Company.
Damien and I would like, again to take the opportunity to thank you for the wonderful experience and great assistance you, and Your Team have offered us all thru our trip to Guatemala and Belize.
From the very beginning of our booking researches, and during many months, you have always brought us a very professional support. Despite of all our inquiries and interrogations, You have been a perfect Guide yourself !
From the Hotels suggested, from our private drivers, from all the best Tour/ Excursions booked/suggested, to our private local guides....and much more, Travel Discovery has fully meet with our expectations in helping us exploring Guatemala and the Mayan Culture in its deep Integrity.
Travel Discovery has for sure, helped us to accomplish one of our dream in a successful way.
Aurélie Motte - St. Barts
Hello...I hope that all is well with you! On my end, I think that I have just settled back into the pace and rythm of Trinidad. It's quite hot here now, yet almost amazing to think that after spending only a week in Guatemala, I adjusted to the temperature so quickly, that the moment I hit the airport and the heat in Trinidad I started to melt!
Anyway, I am really writing to thank you for planning an incredible vacation for my mom and I. You and your team delivered a most superior form of service to us, from the airport transfers to the hotel accommodations to the tours! I would also like to thank you for your hospitality and taking the time to see us even though you were busy and even though it was far beyond the call of duty! I greatly appreciate this! Please extend a special thank you to Chici (I hope that I spelt his name correctly) who not only was our tour guide on the journey to Chichicastenango, but a friend as well! I can definitely say that this was one of our favourite tours!
By the way, please let Chici know that I have tasted Ron Zacapa and I concede defeat, since it is a better rum that Trinidad's rum! That's okay though, since we still kicked your butts in football! :-)
Anyway, I have to run as I am off to a photomart to print the 387 photos from my trip! Have a great week! I will definitely be singing your praises for a long time to come! Regards,
Tracey Howell - Trinidad
Thank you for your email enquiring how we enjoyed our vacation on Ambergris Caye. It was very nice. The resort was just as described on the website, the staff were very nice and helpful and the setting was gorgeous.
The restaurant is indeed excellent and we saw that many people came by boat from other resorts to dine there. We enjoyed every meal that we had there. We would definitely return with other members of our family and next time would go for one of the bigger places, such as Jaguar as we like a lot of space. All in all a very successful stay. Kind Regards,
Jane and John Doré - UK
I am sorry for taking so long to answer, but I got sick after my arrival and i am still sick, so although how much i wanna tell you, i couldnt find the energy to log on. I am also sorry for the email that i sent. I started to write it on my iphone but then i had to close it and i don´t know why, i sent it accidently. Anyway, i want to thank you for everything. The trip was fantastic and the memories of it will last forever. Guatemala is a wonderful country, something genuine, pure, colourful, precious and rich. I have travelled allot almost all my life, but my brother was right, i still needed to go there to find this world´s beauty and enrich my knowledge.
Regarding to expose my critics on your website, please feel free to do it, no problem at all. I want to tell you that everything went very well. Thank you for your kindness, for the professionalism and the support while organising the trip. The hotels we stayed were authentic gems and i will always remember the good moments that i spent in each one. The suite in El Convento for the beautiful ambience, wonderful music selection and the charming jaccuzi outside. Hotel Atitlan for the beauty of the scenery, nice decoration and lovely swimning pool. Casa Palopo for the richness of its decor, ment to be perfect to those that appreciate each detail and obviously for the breathtaking scenery. La Lancha for the wonderful enclosure of it´s decor among the beautiful nature. Posada del Angel for EVERYTHING! There is no better place to stay. I hardly could say goodbye to it. Only a lovely person would create such a masterpiece.
Antigua is one of the most beautiful colonial cities that i have ever visited. It captivates our sences in a way that you never want to say goodbye to it. Tikal is for me the best of the Mayan world that i have visited. It´s magnificient! Lake Atitlan is something supremelly beautiful, hard to define, a nature`s treasure.
Finally, I want to express my gratitude to the wonderful people of Guatemala. It´s something rare in this world, people like this, genuine, faithful to their roots and traditions, simple and at the same time rich. I hope they keep like that forever and that they preserve the richness of their country without allowing the turism to spoil it.
The only thing that went bad was on the last day but it´s my fault. I should have come on the morning flight to Antigua to enjoy the last day there. It was very hot in Peten and we had to wait a long time for the flight.
Anyway, we both want to come back, maybe for the easter on 2011. I hope i can count on you to arrange the trip again. There are many things that we missed, like the volcano and many others.
Ken i want to take this opportunity to ask you to please forward a simple message to Arturo. He was very nice to both of us and unfortunately i couldn´t thank him because he didn´t go again to collect us. I want to tell him to keep always like that. He is an intelligent, captivating and cult person, which is rare to find. I wish both of you the very best. Take care and we will keep in touch. Once again, thank you for everything
Susana Simoes - Portugal
We had an absolutely wonderful time in Costa Rica! All of our drivers were super knowledgeable and friendly, making a few stops along longer rides for restaurants and town walkthroughs. Our accomodations at San Jose, Arenal, and Manuel Antonio were excellent and every effort was made to make our stay all the more enjoyable. We would go back in a second. Thanks for everything!
Julie Sylvestre - New York
Costa Rica Vacation
My trip was perfect! It wasn't my first visit to Tikal. I wanted to take a friend to see the Mayan ruins and eat exotic food. He's a very famous DJ and I didn't want anything to go wrong, so I emailed you. I got your email from a friend in Guate that organizes big international events for a living, so I trusted that you were the best. Even though I called only a couple of days before our trip, I didn't feel pressured or hurried. I got immediate responses from you to all the questions I had, and you made payments easy, even though we ran into some technical difficulties. Accommodations at Camino Real were beautiful, clean and comfortable, and food was interesting and delicious, specially the Tepezcuintle in Flores. My friend was very impressed, as anyone would be when looking at the amazing temples, and we enjoyed every minute of our trip. I will recommend you to my friends in the future, and THANKS FOR EVERYTHING!
Valerie Mansilla - Florida
Thanks for the follow up. We had a great time, hotels were fantastic and definitely exceeded our expectations. Feel free to publish comments.
We loved Guatemala and would definitely go back. We only went to three different places: Antigua, Lake Atitlan, and near Tikal, so have lots to explore next time. Tropical Discovery was great. At first we only booked our first two hotels and airport pick up with Tropical Discovery, because we didn't want everything planned out. We weren't pressured to book tours or anything else, but were aware that we had the option at any point during our trip. We actually did email Ken toward the end of our trip and he booked our hotel in Guatemala City for our last night. Antigua was beautiful, I would have liked an extra day here to do the cooking school or climb the volcano. We did a walking tour and learned a lot of history about Antigua, a few interesting stories! Other than that, we just did a little shopping and relaxed at our hotel, Casa Santa Domingo. The hotel was beautiful, candles were lit everywhere, really pretty gardens and very good restaurant. Rooms were ok, nothing too special. I think next time we would stay in one of the smaller botique hotels, but it was nice to have the experience at Casa Santa Domingo.
Lake Atitlan was beautiful. We stayed in Santa Catarina at Casa Palopo, which was amazing. That hotel really made the experience special. We went kayaking one morning and then hired a boat to take us to a few villages the next day. The hotel staff was very knowledgeable, and so nice. We loved our room, with the private deck and the down stairs library. Carlos made the best margarita I think I've ever had, which is saying a lot! :) We were really glad to be in Santa Catarina, which was more mellow than Pana, less touristy, and much cleaner.
Next stop was La Lancha, about an hour from Tikal. We had a full day to relax around the pool and swim in the lake, did a tour of Tikal the second day, which was very cool. Our guide David, was fantastic. It was a bird watching/ nature tour combined with the tour of the ruins. We saw lots of monkeys, and a falcon mother feeding two baby birds. I'm not all that interested in birds, but that was pretty cool. David was very knowledageable and explained things in an interesting way. Pretty amazing what the Mayan civiliazation built and how much of it still remains.
We spent our last night in Guatemala City, which I would skip next time. The Westin was fine, but a bit of a dissapointment after Casa Palopo and La Lancha. I think I got a little spoiled at those unique hotels.
All in all we had a wonderful trip. This was actually our honeymoon and it lived up to all expectaions. We would definitely work with Tropical Discovery again and probably book a few of the activities in addition to just the hotels. I like that I can rely on all of their hotel recomendations and that there are different options available depending on budget. Thanks for all your help, until the next trip!
Amy Stonebreaker - New York
My trip to Guatemala far exceeded all expectations! I want to thank you for all your help in arranging everything. I really had a great time. Since this was my first trip to Central America I was a little unsure if everything would go smoothly but all the logistics worked out seamlessly. The guides and drivers were all knowledgable and friendly and all of the hotels were great.
Mainly I think the trip was such a success because we had plenty of action packed activities like climbing up volcan pecaya and seeing lava flowing right out of the earth, visiting the ruins at Tikal and ziplining through the jungle followed right up by plenty of down time, relaxing by the pool and getting tan! It was a great combination. Thanks again for all your help. I already have a friend using you guys to go to Costa Rica! And hopefully I'll be back on another trip soon.
Christina Getz - New York
Our trip to Antigua, Guatemala was fantastic. We only booked the transfers and hotel with Tropical Discovery, but they were great. Good cars/drivers and our hotel, Hotel Encantada, was wonderful. I would recommend both Tropical Discovery and our hotel to all. As for Antigua, it was great to be there during the Easter period, but I am not sure it would have the same impact at any other time of year. And yes, you have permission to publish my comments. Kind regards,
Prue Cooper - Cayman Islands
It was fabulous! Every arrangement you made was seamless, the accommodations were top-notch, and the guides were wonderful. Chaa Creek was almost mystical - they have a great eco-friendly approach, yet it still felt luxurious. We took a lazy canoe trip into San Ignacio and enjoyed the market and the ATM cave tour was incredible. Our guide and driver into Guatemala were extremely knowledgeable and we loved the tours of Yaxha/Topoxte and Tikal. Thank you so much for recommending Yaxha instead of the Belizean ruins. La Lancha was also very beautiful, though the trip along the dirt road was very slow and in retrospect, we might have preferred seeing Flores. Placencia was exactly what we had hoped for - ocean beaches and a town with nightlife within a walking distance. Our accommodations at Chabil Mar were excellent and perfect for a family of four. We booked a few tours in town and highly recommend the rasta sailing and snorkel with Jeff through Caribbean Tours. There are very few ways to snorkel and sail. This excursion was very affordable and we saw terrific marine life.
Working with you and Tropical Discovery was a pleasure. You very quickly prepared an itinerary which met our needs and were available for any questions and advice. I would recommend your services to anyone who wants to enjoy a Caribbean vacation. Thanks for everything!
Feel free to use my feedback on your website. It was other travelers recommendations which brought me to you and I would like others to do the same.
Barbara Settel - New York State
Belize & Guatemala Vacation
I am writing to thank you for the high quality service and assistance you provided before, during and after my family's recent trip to Guatemala.... As for the planning our trip, your help and knowledge about Guatemala made settling on an itinerary, selecting hotels and tours, and getting all the necessary arrangements booked a simple and enjoyable task (from my perspective) and made our ambitious plans for an adventurous trip a reality. During the trip, everything worked seamlessly, and as to the few little glitches that did come up, you were available (by email and phone) and responsive in resolving them quickly. And as to the big glitch that was my fault -- leaving my laptop behind at our hotel -- you really came through in making the arrangements for it to be sent to me in the US, and then following up with me on that after our return home. I am very grateful to you for that......
Each of the four guides we had were not only professional and nowledgeable, but were also interesting people of varied backgrounds from whom we obtained different perspectives on Guatemalan history, culture and life. The highlights of our touring were seeing the murals along the main street into San Juan Comalapa (portraying the history of Guatemala), visiting the Mayan villages around Lake Atitlan by boat (and returing to the hotel by tuk tuk), and of course, exploring the ruins at Tikal....
The hotels all met or exceeded our expectations. Hotel El Convento was outstanding. The rooms and facilities were luxurious and first rate, and the food was terrific. Hotel Atitlan offered a breathtaking setting with beautiful gardens and views, and our suite had a large private terrace from which we could soak it all in. The Camino Real Tikal wasn't in the same league as the other hotels we stayed at, but given the limited choices in the area (and the fact that La Lancha couldn't accommodate us), it served our purpose of having a base from which to explore The Peten. And at least the next stop on our trip was the Westin Camino Real in Guatemala City, which was about as nice a city hotel as you can find anywhere in terms of rooms, facilities and service.....
Many thanks for all of your help, and we will be back in touch with you when we are ready to plan our next trip to Central America, which I hope will be soon. Best Regards.
Kenneth Gerstein - New York
Good afternoon. I hope this finds you well. Just wanted to give you that brief feedback I promised.
1. This was an OUSTANDING and AWESOME trip. We couldn’t be happier with choosing to visit Guatemala and using Tropical Discovery. You put together a great trip for us, and we appreciate you customizing our trip and responding so quickly to our emails.
2. Francisco picked us up Saturday night at the airport when we arrived. He was on time, found us right away, friendly and helpful.
3. Arturo picked us up on time in Antigua on Sunday. Arturo is a great guide and driver, and a great person. We really liked him a lot. He is friendly, personable, easy to talk to, answered all our questions, was very helpful. He helped make our experience great.
4. Meson de Maria in Antingua is a great hotel and we would recommend it to others. Very cool hotel, nice rooms, breakfast was great, internet access was free.
5. Chi Chi market is a must-do for visitors, obviously. Arturo walked around with us and that was good.
6. Lake Atitlan is great, too. Hotel Atitlan is beautiful and another that we highly recommend. The grounds and landscaping are beautiful, and it is such a nice setting on the lake.
7. Tomas was our guide for the pueblos around the lake. We really liked him, too, and thought he did a good job. He was knowledgeable of the area and history, and showed us a great time. We went to San Jaun de La Luna, Walked to San Pedro, Santiago, and San Antonio. We liked them all.
8. Our flight to Flores went smoothly. Camino Real Tikal is a great hotel and it’s nice that it is on the lake. The rooms were ok, nothing special. One small complaint is that it is very expensive, at least more expensive than other areas. Even more expensive than Hotel Atitlan. We’ve traveled enough to know that certain hotels, especially those that are isolated, will charge you more, which is fine, but thought I’d mention that.
9. I would also recommend visitors take the afternoon flight out of Flores back to Guatemala City. Unless they have a full day planned in the Peten area. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and a canopy tour on Friday, but we could have taken the afternoon flight home and enjoyed more time in Antigua on Friday night. Not a big deal, but worth noting for future travelers.
10. Our guide, Benedico, for Tikal was also very nice and very knowledgeable. He did a good job and we would recommend him in the future.
Ok, I think that is it. 10 points is enough anyway!
Again, thank you for your hard work and putting together a memorable vacation. We enjoyed it very much and we are so happy we chose to visit Guatemala. It is a beautiful country with friendly and wonderful people and sights. Best,
Chad & Tasha - USA
First of all many thank from me and my wive. We were very satisfied with your arrangements and believe you have offered us a great tour. Especially your drivers were all very good and pleasant to travel with and the choice of hotels was excellent and really proved an added value. Kind regards,
Reinout van Tuyll - Holland
My trip was amazing.... Well complimented by your excellent customer service and assistance in locating beautiful hotel accommodations. Thank you for you all your help! I'll definitely be in touch for future trips.
Dr. Amy Adams - Phoenix, Arizona
Hello!! Back in Holland after an excellent trip here the requested comments.
First of all we stay 4 days longer then your travel scheme indicated because we went 3 days to the Pacific coast and stayed in Dos Mundos in Montericco to get some tan as the weather of the first 2 weeks was such that we almost felt at home cold and windy ! We needed some sunshine and warmth before going back to the cold (Holland at the moment 6 to 7 degree C.).... The trip as said was excellent, we have seen a lot, not only from the country side but also of the Maya culture.The people everywhere were very friendly and we do not understand why Guatemala has such a bad reputation in Europe. All hotels were good and highly recommendable and food was fine. The only place we do not fully share your euphoria was hotel
Marina Nana Juana.That is not yet a top end resort, it needs lots of doing up and is far from what the brochure tells you. Our room/bungalow was new and good, food fine but the overall premises were somewhat outdated. Hacienda San Lucas was something special, what a wonderful romantic place,with very nice people. We found it one of the best places. May be not high,high comfort (5 stars) but very charming, excellent food, fantastic view, no TV, Phone, and other worldly distractions but peaceful, lots of green and many singing birds. A wonderful place to rest after lots of Mayan culture and to enjoy the country side. All your drivers were fine, very friendly, trustworthy and on time. Complements to all of them. Thank you again for your help on the binoculars. We enjoyed the trip thorouly, again thank you for your help and we will recommend your agency to our friends. Best regards
Jan Schaap - Holland
Just wanted to thank you for helping me book my vacation with my daughter. We had a great time. Both Portofino and Hidden Valley Inn were wonderful places -- pleasant environment, great staff, really good food. I'd have no problem recommending your services to anyone I know interested in a trip like the one we took. Regards,
Brian - New York
Belize Family Vacation
I was meaning to send you a note! The trip to Guatemala was excellent. I really enjoyed La Lancha, though it is a place that's probably better suited for a couple rather than a single traveler like myself. Still, the property is beautiful and it definitely enhanced my overall experience at Tikal. The tour to Tikal was definitely one of the highlights of my Guatemala trip. I believe the guide's name was Peter (aka Mr. Shortcut) and he was so knowledgeable about the site. We spent a few hours walking around the ruins and were even filmed by the History Channel for an upcoming documentary on the Maya (to be shown March 8). Back at La Lancha, I particularly enjoyed the time around sunset, when hundreds of parrots congregate in the trees near the swimming pool, singing and flying about. Drinks and dinners were perfect. I also enjoyed borrowing one of the mountain bikes and riding up the dirt road (a jaguar was spotted on my last day about a kilometer from La Lancha) past the town of Jobopimche. Great views along the road! Interesting experience overall. In Antigua, I stayed at Meson de Maria, which was perfectly located around the corner from both the Arch and Central Parque. The staff were so friendly. One morning they prepared a box breakfast for me since I was leaving at 6am for Pacaya Volcano. The staff could not have been any nicer, and my room was clean and comfy. As for the rest of my trip, I stayed at a basic hotel in Pana and spent one day climbing San Pedro Volcano with a local outfitter called Tolliman Excursions. I also visited Chichicastenago on market day. Please feel free to use my comments in any of your promotional efforts and let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks again.
Andrew - New York
Thanks for taking time to chat while in Antigua. Our son ended up taking us on a heart-thumping hike behind Jocotenago, overlooking the valley, Finca Philadelphia and the mountains!.... We were extraordinarily pleased with both hotels that you booked for our holiday in Antigua. Casa Santo Domingo deserves the reputation it has and we so enjoyed the historical context and beauty of the grounds. For us, the museums were very special and sharing mass with others in the open sanctuary was very memorable on Christmas Day. The dining room is superb and overall we thought the value for our charges was very reasonable. The number of rooms and size of the staff makes it difficult to feel "comfy" as we did at Palacio Dona Louisa proved exquisite for us....very central location but our room on the courtyard level away from the street was perfect! The space was exceptionally large, the decor charming and the facilities in the room (especially the bathroom!) superb. The staff of the hotel treated us as friends and were so willing to help in many ways...getting us early breakfast, arranging dinners out and transportation to the airport. We would highly recommend that others try the Dona Louisa room and when we return will make reservations there for sure!.... Thanks again for your help in arranging our stay. Your extra effort to visit the requested hotels and recommend the correct combination for us to enjoy Antigua was hugely helpful, being a full continent away!
Bev and Paul Armstrong - Edmonton, Canada
Hi Ken. Well, back to reality...but not without a moment to thank you for all your wonderful plans and suggestions. Everything was flawless - and fabulous. The arrangements (air transfer, pick-ups, driver and guide), hotels and activities were perfect - even the weather was just right. The only problem we had was that we weren't there long enough! Thank you sooooo much! Both Estuardo and Benidicto were terrific, and flexible. In Belize we went on the Monkey River trip (with Percy), scuba/snorkeling and fishing (with Ivan). All wonderful. In Peten we did the zip line, went into the caves, visited the zoo and walked around Flores - oh yes, and a whole day in TIkal - a visit of a lifetime. If you would like to use the Broads and/or us as a reference we would be more than pleased to do so.
Only suggestions: 1) ideally, we would have visited Peten first and then Belize (wasn't possible for us because of what hotels were available). 2) Perhaps you should suggest to people that they bring a good bit of cash since there are very few ATMs around and many places do not take credit cards. We had no problems but we did have to seek out ATMs in Flores.
So, once again - many thanks!!!
Nancy Richner Family - New York
In response to your e-mail, we can provide the following feedback. In short, everything that Tropical Discovery arranged was great. Of course, we were a little apprehensive on the morning of the first tour (Granada), but when the guide (Byron) and driver showed up ahead of time to pick us up at our hotel, our anxiety vanished. We had the same guide for a second tour (Masaya) the following day. Byron was excellent in all aspects one expects of a guide, and helped make these two days quite enjoyable. The content of the tours was essentially as advertised, so we saw and experienced what we expected. The drivers (a different one each day) were also excellent. The drive back from Masaya to our hotel was without the guide, but the driver did his best to describe what we were passing, despite the language difficulties. The only thing that I can think of that would be a negative point is that the included lunches did not include drinks of any kind - not even water or soda. We have taken numerous other tours and this is the first time non-alcoholic drinks were not part of the included meals. Despite that, we would be happy to recommend and travel again with Tropical Discovery.
Russ Gluck - New Jersey
Thanks for your concern on how our vacation went! I must confess that I was a bit unease on how everything would turn out being that it was the first time I ever arranged a vacation using an agency such as yours and only speaking to you by e-mail and phone. I am pleased to report that everything was great! The hotels you elected for us were definitely top notch and I have no complaints! The tours you arranged were worth every penny and the people you contracted were very friendly and “professional”. Thanks for coming through for me, my family was very pleased and I looked like a hero!! I will definitely use your agency again the next time I travel to Guatemala! Or anywhere else. Your costumer service was very impressive, and I have recommended your services to all my family and friends.Thanks again.
Erick Lopez - Maryland
Guatemala Family Vacation
We had a wonderful time. Belize is a very beautiful country and hope we could go back many more times. Everything was excellent. All the hotels were upscale, the service at the hotels was great and the people we met were also very kind and nice. Thanks for all your help.
Priya Sheth - California
The trip through Guatemala was great - the assistance you gave me was very very professional and the services you booked were always very good. The buses and drivers were very good too. If you ever need to use me as a reference for other tour operators or agencies you can give them my name and email address - no problem. I will let you know how our 2009 sales are going so that we can plan things for next year. Happy Holidays if we don’t talk before Christmas
Alessandra (Tour Operator) – Portland, OR
Our trip was amazing. Guatemala is a fascinating country, and our itinerary really allowed us to get a feel for the diverse culture and natural beauty. The pace of the trip was excellent, allowing us structured time with guides and unstructured time to explore on our own. We felt it was enough time in each place. More specifically:
1. All drivers and guides were punctual and knowledgable. They were enthusiastic about their work and wanted us to learn. Arturo was a great driver and a very nice young man. We enjoyed getting to know him on those long drives. Chiqui (sp?) was an interesting guy, super athlete, and very kind when I got sick. Jesus Antonio in Tikal was outstanding in his encyclopedic knowledge and upbeat attitude.
2. All hotels in Guatemala met or exceeded our expectations. Casa Encantada was beautifully appointed and intimate. Hotel Atitlan was gorgeous, perhaps the most beautiful gardens we have ever experienced. La Lancha was fine, a little disappointing perhaps because of the hype surrounding it (Coppola, etc.).
Now for the down side: Belize. We didn't care for San Pedro Island or the Belizeans in general. We felt like they were looking to take advantage of tourists - not a great vibe. The Portofino was too remote. Our room was lovely, but there wasn't much to do there. I would discourage people from going to Belize unless they are divers. Other than the reef, not much going on.
3. To end on a good note, I would definitely recommend Tropical Discovery. You delivered what I asked for and what you promised. Everything was well organized and clear. Traveling in a foreign country can be intimidating, and all of our arrangements took the worry from our minds. We felt comfortable, staying in hotels that met our standards and eating food that we enjoyed, while also experiencing this different culture.
Enough said. Thanks and best wishes.
Janet F. - Encino, CA
Luis and I were very impressed with Guatemala, and also the level of service that all of your guides, drivers, and hotels provided for us. We travel quite often, and I can honestly say this trip exceeded my expectations. The attention to detail, attentiveness, and willingness to help us went above and beyond the usual travel experience. The hotels were beautiful, especially La Lancha. The food was extraordinary in Panza Verde. And the guides and drivers were extremely knowledgeable and friendly. We would especially like to recognize our guide for Tikal and our driver from Guatemala City to Antigua and Lake Atitlan to the airport. I would highly recommend them to anyone visiting Guatemala. Our guide made our experience in Tikal absolutely magical. And Arturo, as our driver, made our drives that much more comfortable and interesting. Guatemala should definitely be on everyone's travel list for 2009 - what an experience! Thanks again for everything.
Adeline Cassin - Florida
We had an adventurous time in Guatemala and enjoyed our stay. But I must say the highlight was our 3 nights at Casa Santo Domingo in Antigua. What a magnificent place with excellent service, exquisite grounds, delicious food, and divine accommodations. Exploring Antigua was so easy with everything at our doorstep. What an enticing city, we met the archeologist who discovered the lost Jade mine, shopped for Christmas gifts, ate a gourmet meal at Panza Verde, took a tour of the City with Elizabeth Bell, and looked for out of the way places to eat with few Americans.... We loved our quick trip to Chichicastenango primarily because of our driver. Arturo was amazing, there was nothing that he and my husband could not discuss. We has such fun discussing everything from movies to politics to life in Guatemala. His pride in his country was contagious and our trip seemed to fly by. He was a wealth of knowledge and has such a keen sense of humor... Our hotel in Chichi was also a pleasant surprise, very old world, with lush gardens and excellent service. The market needs only a few hours we discovered, as the constant begging becomes overwhelming, and we felt the need to run away from it all to save our sanity. Somehow Arturo sensed this and arrived early. We were delighted.... We definitely plan to return someday and will make our reservations with Tropical Discovery. You catered to our every need and your recommendations for accommodations were spot on. Having a driver, as opposed to riding the Chicken Bus was a wonderful improvement and quite a luxury.
Charlene Deaver - USA
Our trip was absolutely amazing. The driver provided by your company was outstanding, navigating the curves and turns amazingly and he had a wonderfully friendly and positive attitude. Additionally, we enjoyed the lake Atitlan Boat trip to visit the various pueblos and the guide who accompanied us. He was on time, very knowledgeable and communicated with us excellently despite the fact that his English was limited and our Spanish was limited. Every aspect of the portion of the trip coordinated by your organization was fantastic and we definitely look forward to using your services again when we travel to regions of the world that your company serves. .... Thank you for contributing to a great travel experience for me and my family. We have fond memories of Guatemala that we will cherish forever.
Patti Rose - Ft. Lauderdale, FL
I loved the trip, the variety, convenience and the realability of your tours/drivers was spectacular. I especially appreciated your quick response when booking at the last moment as well. My fav hotel was La Lancha, tour was Tikal...guess that is hard to top!
Michael Briggs - Chicago Il
Fabulous vacation, loads to do and see. I've never seen a more beautiful beach/setting. Hotel was excellent, great food, service, rooms. Visited in rainy season and still had a really great time. I'd like to come back. I appreciate your help and may book with you again.
R. Goodwin - Columbus, Ohio
Costa Rica Vacation
The tour was excellent. Our guide was very knowledgeable and also quite thoughtful. He was very well educated about Mayan history, in fact much more educated than the guide we used on our last tour of Tikal. He went out of his way to point out photo opportunities along the way. Plus he was very considerate of my injury which at that time made it difficult for me to walk long distances. He arranged to have a driver take us on the initial long walk approaching the park, saving me a long distance walk and allowing me to complete the whole tour with the rest of the group.
Karen Ferguson - San Francisco, CA
Guatemala (Tikal Tour)
Thank you Tropical Discovery for a great experience on our first voyage to Nicaragua. Our driver was professional and knowledgeable (as a child he drove the roads of Nicaragua with his father who a professional truck driver). He was on time/early, pleasant, and informative. Most of all, my family and I are very appreciative of his safe driving skills. With so many variables (rain, pedestrians, motorcycles, cows, potholes, buses, trucks) to deal with, he always picked the best options, favoring the side of safety each time. His abilities I believe are at the very top of a driver's skill set. Additionally, where we traveled to is remote, hard to find, and hard to get to (due to several miles of dirt road which form pools of water/mud. Our driver navigated these all excellently without any problems. I want to HIGHLY RECOMMEND you/your company for having a driver of this caliber, for maintaining surveillance over all the little things, and for having quality vehicles to ride in. THANK YOU.
John Price – California, USA
I just wanted to say thank you again for all your help with our Guatemala trip! Both the Westin and Villas del Pacifico hotels were fabulous! I also wanted to say thanks for advising me to do the all inclusive at Villas..the food was fantastic! Thanks again!
Ashley Ramirez - Lake City, MN
Our trip to Roatan was simply amazing and we are so happy for choosing Tropical Discovery as our travel partner. We were unsure where to stay on the island and with the help of the attentive staff, we found the perfect match at Paradise Beach. The hotel was just as it appeared online and there were no surprises when we arrived. A serene sandy white beach, palm trees and turquoise water surrounded us and we truly found paradise here. Thank you again for making our vacation an unforgettable one and we will be sure to contact you again in the future as we explore other destinations in Central America. Muchas gracias!
Katharine Bayer – North Carolina, USA
Honduras (Roatan) Vacation
We really enjoyed Guatemala and Tropical Discovery’s service. The country was beautiful, the hotels were very well selected (especially Case Santo Domingo in Antigua was top notch), all with premium setting and service, including food quality. The tours were also ok, Tikal guide was superior. We also would like to thank you for driving us around, and all your efforts for taking us back to Guatemala City via an alternative route after the main road was blocked (by an overturned truck). Unfortunately we did miss our flight to Flores, but that was out of your hands. Luckily we could still take the next flight to Flores in the morning and still do our planned visit to Tikal. Conclusion: we were very happy and fulfilled from our Guatemala trip and the service we received from you.
Marnik De Troyer – Belgium
Costa Rica was great. The best for me was Hotel Sueño del Mar. I also loved the Tabacon Spa. Thanks for arranging such a different trip for us - each place we stayed in Costa Rica was different from any place we have ever stayed.
Janet Richards – Florida, USA
Costa Rica Vacation
Thanks a lot for your help. You and your company made my trip amazing. Best Regards,
Kezia - Trinidad & Tobago
The weather was pretty dreary but who can anticipate hurricanes? Regardless, we had a great time and got to do all of the activities we had planned ... just a little wetter.
I want to express my sincere appreciation to you and your staff. As you know, we had to adjust to at least a couple of lengthy and unpredictable weather delays. However, the driver somehow was always there when we needed him ... even when we arrived 10 hours late into Guatemala City.
Also, the guides were all courteous and knowledgeable. Your service is really first rate and I would recommend to anyone.
Brian Long - USA
I'm happy to be a reference.... Our vacation was wonderful! From the initial interactions with you via email to plan it all, to the final (very early) morning drop off at the airport to leave - Tropical Discovery provided great service and great resources so we could plan and have a great holiday. It was the perfect mix of adventure and relaxation - both which my aunt and I needed! Guatemala is a beautiful country rich in diversity, culture, and history so in a short timeframe (9 days), we got to see a lot and get a real feel for the country..... We LOVED the boutique hotels we stayed in - Hotel Atitlan was our favorite. The view of the lake from our room, the lush, sprawling gardens and the colonial style all made it a such a beautiful and peaceful place. I spent 2 1/2 hours in the pool by myself one afternoon - it was just too inviting to not take time to enjoy! .... Another highlight of our trip was our guide and driver, Arturo. He is not only a very safe driver (which we truly appreciated after seeing the local buses in action!), he is an interesting, smart, funny young man who we got to talk to in detail about the country and learn so much more than we could have on our own with our limited Spanish..... The Tikal tour was my personal favorite. We had another great guide on that tour, Aquilino, he was very knowledgeable of both the ruins and the bird life in the area..... If I had to say anything negative it would be that we didn't like Hotel Camino Tikal - it was too big and "American" and didn't have the boutique feel of all the other places we stayed. La Lancha provides a much more enjoyable experience in the Peten area with the open air rooms, sort of like 'high-end' camping!..... We hope to have the opportunity to use Tropical Discovery again in the future. Kind regards,
Nicole Sommerfeld - San Francisco, CA
Hi Ken, just now getting back to you. Our trip to Belize and Guatamala was a modern day adventure that was the most physically, spiritually and emotionally challenging trip we've ever had. Your services in helping to plan, book, and execute the plan were flawless and your attention to detail was apparent. The flight from BZE to Placencia was one we had taken before and seeing the Placencia airport again was a treat. The people of Turtle Inn were there to great us and take us to the beautiful accommodations of the garden villa of their beautiful resort. Two nights at Turtle Inn and then on to Javier's flying service with Pilot Daniel at the Helm. The tiny 1966 Cessna, the poor visibility and the strange winds made for a nail-biting flight into the jungle. Unable to fly into Hidden Valley due to visibility, Daniel took us to Central Farm where Freddy picked us up for the 1 hour drive to Hidden Valley. We did have an opportunity to walk into a village for a coke with Daniel before Freddy arrived. Quite a character! (He told us of a plane crash at Blanceneaux where a pilot named Tam crashed on Hidden Valley property and he and the honeymoon couple he was transporting all died. It was shocking to us because Tam was the pilot that flew us into Blanceneaux in 2004 with our daughters during a bad thunderstorm. We have pictures of Tam in the cockpit of the plane as well as at our landing at blanceneaux.) Our drive to Hidden Valley was as advertised, pretty rough roads but well worth the drive. Hidden Valley is a jewel in the jungle and Ramon, Misial, Sandra, Freddy, Rick, and Walter took great care of us and we met many other couples while there. We hiked Butterfly Falls and the new Cascade Trail and Mannakin falls. All breathtakingly beautiful and world class hiking. A definite 10 out of 10. The food and service at Hidden Valley were top notch and the accommodations were clean and comfortable. A call to you on Wednesday to change our transfer to 10am instead of 1pm the next day was handled immediately and so appreciated. 3 nights at Hidden Valley and a tearful goodbye, we were on to La Lancha in Guatamala. Our driver was 30 minutes late but a quick phone call to you confirmed that he was on the way. The border crossing was an adventure of it's own because of the non-english speaking Guatamala side. Nobody spoke english including our driver. The poverty of Guatamala during the drive was quite an experience but one we will remember forever. The arrival at La Lancha was another breathtaking moment as we saw the view from the outdoor dining room of Lake Petan. Our cottage was rustic and set in the middle of the jungle and after 15 minutes of relaxing in the hammock on the porch we were visited by 5 howler monkeys that continued to entertain us for the next 2 days. We hiked and canoed six miles to a village where we were able to mingle with some local people that were amazed at our digital camera, the children posing with Don for picture after picture. Our transfer back to Belize and Central Airstrip went without a hitch and our 1pm flight brought a thunderstorm and the first rain they had felt in 4 months. The Tropic air flight was another adventure but went well. We're not going to get into any small planes for awhile though. Everyone we've talked to thinks we're crazy!.....
All in all Ken, we are grateful to have found you and your services. I don't know when you sleep! Whenever we needed you, you were there and the transfers and accommodations were all executed flawlessly. We have found our souls again and will return to Belize soon. We will surely be contacting you for all of our future adventures. I have made a 30 minute movie of our adventure and your name rolls in the credits at the end. We shall tell everyone we know planning a vacation to the tropics about you...... Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Marjorie and Don - Dallas TX
Guatemala & Belize Vacation
Our time in Livingston was great. We had a fabulous time there. The hotel (Villa Caribe) was so nice and very comfortable. We loved that there was a swimming pool because it was definitely warm. Our boat and van drivers were the best as well. The van driver was a very courteous driver and he made sure that we stopped when it was necessary. In addition, he was more than happy to talk to my dad about Guatemala's land and history. Our boat driver was great as well. He also told us about the water, land, animals and people. He gave us plenty of opportunities to take pictures. In fact, we hired him to take us to Playa Blanca and a restaurant on the river. Both drivers were very kind and made our trip really fun by giving us the inside scoop of where to go in Livingston. Thanks so much for assisting us with the hotel and the drivers. It made our vacation planning very smooth. I will definitely use your services again when I return to Guatemala.
Mirthala Santizo – California
I will gladly write comments and even provide pictures if you like. It was an amazing trip and your services were excellent, reliable and safe. The drivers were pleasant and informative. We loved Guatemala. Thanks.
Esmeralda - USA
Casa Palopo was very beautiful and we took a boat ride to a few towns, swam in the hot springs, etc. It was a great day and we were glad we stayed. We loved both Antigua and Atitlan, Guatemala is truly a gem. We were amazed how clean, well maintained and charming the City was. We have since recommended the trip to several people. Thanks for your help and responsiveness. We look forward to our next Guatemala trip.
Suzette - Alabama USA
Kirsten and I just returned to Scottsdale this evening......and had 12 wonderful days in Guatemala......We had 3 nights at the Convento under the arch.........in time for Sunday processionals the week before Palm Sunday.....truly an incredible experience.......we shopped and dined and made new local friends........and moved to the Santa Domingo for an additional 3 nights and attended a wedding there.....over the top.......we topped this off with a few days at the Lake and a heliocopter ride back to the city........Antigua always being my favorite stop........the staff and the service at the Covento made us feel like we were at home there.......we will return and stay at the Covento....until then.....adios.....
Jeanne Lewis - USA
It was magical! Truly a wonderful experience for the both of us. We had an absolutely wonderful time. The diving as amazing, the snorkeling was spectacular, and the fishing was tremendous - Amy caught a 4 foot long barracuda, I caught two smaller ones, we caught a giant red snapper and two groupers. We also caught a huge assortment of smaller yellow-fin snapper and a cold (but I think that last we got on the plane going down there). The Mayan ruins were absolutely amazing - we went to Lamanai for a day trip and the trip in was as fun as the ruins were. The Mennonites we saw on the way there were a fun surprise - we didn't expect to see Tom Sawyer on the way up the river, it was like we took a detour into 1850. The best part though was that in San Pedro, I found a jewelry shop, stopped in for a quick purchase and popped the question right then and there - Amy and I are now engaged! Thank you SO much for making this dream come true - from the both of us.
Jon Caruthers – Colorado
The hotel El Convento in Leon, Nicaragua was lovely, well maintained and had a considerate and obliging staff. Everything went smoothly and we appreciate your help. We will use you again.
Millie Willen – New York State
We absolutely LOVED Guatemala and all of our experiences and accommodations we had there. Your drivers and guide were all very informative and incredibly gracious in helping us with the language difference. They were on time for every pick up - the trip could not have gone smoother! Our drives and lunch with Arturo were especially enjoyable.
There was never a dull moment--we really felt like we soaked up a lot of the beauty of nature and the culture of the areas we visited. All of the accommodations in Guatemala were beautiful and we really felt spoiled! We thoroughly enjoyed Ni'tun Lodge! The staff were incredibly helpful, the food delicious and the surroundings breathtaking.
We didn't quite take to Belize. After all of our rich experiences in Guatemala, San Pedro just didn't compare. Though, I must say, we did find the best ever coconut ice cream!
Andy and I had felt like we were taking a leap of faith with Tropical Discovery, since we had only found you through web searches, not by recommendation. But you really did exceed all of our expectations and we would use your services again.
Amy & Andrew Kittleson - New York State
We had a great time in Guatemala. Antigua itself was enchanting, not to mention we bumped into the biggest Holy Week festival of the year. We splashed on hotels and meals of fine dining. Tikal was also awesome too, wrapping up my 3 weeks trip visiting multiple Maya archeology sites.
Anita Huang - China
We had a great time at La Lancha - the place was beautiful, the service was great, and the Tikal guide was extremely knowledgeable (even for three academics!). Should I ever come back to Tikal, I would want to stay there.
Heidi Jutsum – Boston, US
We had a great trip and really enjoyed Guatemala. Antigua was our favorite. We could easily have spent the whole two weeks there. It was a comfort to know that you were always available and so quick to respond to any inquiry or request. Thanks again for all your help!
Deborah Curry - Washington D.C.
Everything that you planned for our cruise port stops was beyond fabulous. We had unique experiences that would have been impossible on a large tour bus and it would be hard to say which day was more special. Due to your planning and the enthusiasm and knowledge of our drivers and guides, we were exhilarated at the end of each day.
Nicaragua - The highlight of the day was a boat ride on the lake. We went to Monkey Island where a little monkey jumped into the boat, grabbed a bag of food out of my purse and proceeded to sort what he’d like (bananas and nuts) and leave a nice paper pile behind; he was followed by many friends until we were truly a boat full of monkeys and many of them would eat from my hands. Great fun! Spectacular!
Costa Rica-Monteverde Cloud Forest - Our driver made numerous stops for photo opportunities and I came home with some lovely shots of birds, butterflies, domestic animals and plant life. He knew the names of everything we saw along the way. In Monteverde we chose the suspension bridges/trails to explore and weren’t disappointed. It was a rare 75 degrees in the forest with a very clear sky, providing us with unexpected vistas. All of us stopped for lunch at Tree Tops (excellent food) in town
and I had an impromptu salsa lesson from our guide. Great time! As noted the previous day, our guide and driver were simply 10+.
Guatemala-Rio Dulce Tour - As our guide was born in the area, he knows all of the small tributaries where the largest amounts of bird life, butterflies, water lilies, turtles and all forms of plant life/flowers could be seen as well as the homes of local people. A real high point was a stop at AK’ Tenamit (a craft center, school and cultural center run by the local Quiche Mayans)... As we left Livingston, our driver showed us how fast his boat could go on open ocean. Completely exhilarated, we were flying along at exactly the same speed as the flock of pelicans accompanying us. LOVE GUATEMALA!!!
So, please let me say thank you again for planning such absolutely perfect daily trips for us. We’ll be back soon for a land trip!
Janed Sax – California
Private cruise ship excursions (Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Guatemala)
The trip was great! The transportation was on time, even early! The hotel (Banana Palms) itself was beautiful. We really enjoyed our stay. The room was nice, neat, and clean. Our tour we took on Saturday (Finca Paraíso Tour) was beautiful, and definitely worth it. The food and the service was great too. The view of the river was beautiful and relaxing as well. Overall, the trip was great! I would definitely go back there again. Thanks for everything you did to help put it together!!!
Matthew - New York
The Banana Palms was very nice. We truly enjoyed the Villa Carib Hotel though. The boat transfer went great. He was early for the transfer and very knowledgeable of the area. You were extremely helpful and I appreciate all your help.
Allen Langford – Florida
The trip was great. We loved Roatan. Will most likely return someday. Over all every thing you set up for us went off without a glitch. All transportation was on time. You made our trip very easy, and we are grateful for all you did to accommodate us on this exceptional adventure. I would use your services again and recommend Tropical Discovery to our friends.
Marc Morin - Idaho
The vacation was absolutely wonderful. La Lancha is a lovely property. The accommodations were "jungle luxury". The food was excellent, good wines. The staff very attentive, intelligent and helpful. I loved being able to have a full day seeing amazing anthropological and historical sites, hiking in the sunshine with the excellent guides you arranged for us, and then came back to the beauty and serenity of La Lancha. We even loved the walk to the lake. As we were there at the end of the dry season, the weather was perfect - 85 in the day and not particularly humid. And hardly a mosquito. My two children (19 and 21) were with us and they loved it as much as I did. It was a perfect combination of activity and resort. We loved the Tikal day, and the Topoxte trip was also good. I am glad we did Tikal first, though, as it is so much more excavated that we were able to appreciate the fact that under every mound was probably another temple or observatory in Topoxte. The views were spectacular. And on both of those days we were practically the only people around. We also liked the two lunches that we had - it was great to have authentic local food. And we were ravenous as well. The last morning we went to the Canopy walk, and that was also terrific gorgeous exercise. (and the zip lines were fun - didn't seem all that commercial, and again we were the only people there). My daughter turned 21 during our stay at La Lancha and we were able to plan a special dinner in coordination with the chef, including a fabulous birthday cake. It was very memorable. Also, it was fine not having television or in-room phone service, but it was also terrific having WIFI - especially for the kids when we got back at the end of hte day. And also for us adults to keep in touch with our businesses. We only had three nights and two and a half days, but it was so worth it.
And you were totally right about Antigua - it was worth the short time we spent there. We arrived around 8pm on Thursday night, and were blown away by the beauty of the Hotel Casa Santa Domingo. Amazing. We had a lovely dinner, and then were happy to have the nice gym the next day before a great breakfast and then a 2 hour walk around the Plaza and into a few museums. Then off to the airport around noon. The weather in January was gorgeous there as well.............Feel free to use my words. All in all, it was a perfect family vacation. I highly recommend both hotels and the trips we did each day. Thank you again for all your help. I have recommended your firm to friends.
Alison Haimes - New York
Guatemala Family vacation
Our trip was great! Both the hotels you booked for us - Mansion del Pensativo in Antigua and Villa Maya in Peten were really nice! The staff at Pensativo were very friendly and helpful and the views of the volcano from the dining area were spectacular! The hotel Villa Maya was a bit out of the way and expensive to get to compared to places in Flores, but we enjoyed the isolated location and the peaceful surroundings. Overall, we loved Guatemala - the people, culture and natural beauty were all amazing!
Thanks for your assistance in making our trip memorable! We will definitely recommend you to friends that are traveling to Central America.(Please feel free to publish these comments in your Guest Comments).
Apurva Kothari - New York
Hi Ken. Thanks again for coordinating our wonderful vacation. We hate to be home!! Casa Encantada is great and we would DEFINITELY stay there again. We loved the rooftop bar. We enjoyed Calle De La Fonda and even met the owner! We also had fun and a few drinks at Monoloco. Elizabeth Bell's walking tour was fantastic. Great trip. I guess you heard the problem with Taca. They wanted to put us on the 5pm flight and then said we could go but no the suitcases! La Lancha was great. Our guide through Tikal, Benedicto was SUPER!!! You must always use only him. He was the best and we learned so much. Well, you have convinced us to journey back to Guatemala. After speaking to many, we believe that the Lake area will be part of our next trip. We will stay in touch with you and THANK YOU!!
Connie and Michael Beck - Landisville, PA
Guatemala & Belize Vacation
I must say we loved our tour guide for Tikal. He was extremely knowledgeable and was able to sight many animals, birds, etc. for us. He was a joy to spend the day with. Camino Real Tikal was fine - but we ate New Year's Dinner at La Lancha and it was fantastic and it looked to be a great place to stay. We also loved Antigua - and look forward to going back some day to Guatemala.
Sandra Padden – North Carolina
I wanted to thank you for all your help with our recent trip to Guatemala and Belize. Everything went so smoothly and La Lancha was great. Tikal, the rainforest, the sky canopy and not forgetting the Howler Monkeys all lived up to expectations and more and the trip through to Belize was completely uneventful which was great. Again thank you for you efforts and I will certainly recommend you to anyone I know who is coming your way. Kind regards and a good Christmas
Jan Poole - London UK
We just got back after a most enjoyable and enriching visit to Guatemala. The tour guide (Josue Ramirez Martinez) in Peten was great; his English was excellent and had expert knowledge about Mayan history and customs. The trip to Peten was indeed the top highlight of our tour. Upon the recommendation by Josue, we visited both Miraflores and archeology museums in ciudad Guatemala, and it was trully a worthwhile addition to our activities. We want to thank Arturo for the ride to/from Atitlan. We very much enjoyed the conversation with him on the way as well. The inclusion of Yaxha and Isla Topoxte in the itinerary was fantastic. The boat ride was a memorable extra! The logistics were mostly quite good although there was a hitch which I will address over phone shortly.
My wife and I generally give a high mark for Tropical Discovery's planning and execution of our tour. We will not hesitate to go back to TDS for our future tours or recommend it to others.
Kisoon Park - Chicago, IL
The trip was excellent and we had a great time; here are some comments and feel free to use them for future visitors: TACA Airlines: Absolutely perfect...both flights were on-time, planes were exceptionally clean and service was terrific. / Driver from the airport was very good. / Hotel Banana Palms: Accommodations were larger than we expected and grounds were very comfortable. The staff was exceptionally nice and worked very hard to make the only American Family (at that point) very comfortable. / Tikal was AMAZING!!! We had the best time. The driver(s) were fantastic, the guide at TIKAL was excellent...I would recommend him highly for any English Speaking tour. / The day trip to Livingston was fun. We got great pictures. (We could have used a little heads up about bringing coins with us for all of the children who were selling flowers, etc....you should let future American travelers know this.) Livingston itself was very disappointing relative to the rest of the country but a great experience and lunch was fine. / The hotel in Antigua (Palacio de Doña Leonor)....FANTASTIC! We met the owners and the service was exceptional. The rooms were magnificent and it had a lot of charm. We loved the location and proximity to the center of town. We had two great days walking and shopping and dining in Antigua. / The last day we went swimming at Hotel Antigua before heading out to the airport (you should let future travelers know this is an option...for $18 US we swam all day and had lunch...it was great.) While at the pool, we witnessed a live volcano erupt!!
Overall...everything was great...thank you for setting up a fabulous experience.
Charles Hammermann – New York
The van service was great. It was on time both days, and the driver was good and safe. He also was friendly, informative and helpful. We plan to return to Nicaragua this summer, so we will probably need transportation again. Thanks.
Bill Whittaker – Texas
We had a wonderful time. Antigua is hidden treasure behind the gate. We felt time went too fast. You were very kind and professional as was our driver. We will definitely be back soon and keep in touch.
Lily & Tom Warren – California
We had a wonderful time and are still amazed by all the great things we got to experience. The trip was organized impecably and we couldn't get over the punctuality of everybody involved. I would recomend this trip to anyone, even with young children. The guided tour in Tikal was one of a kind. Our guide was just amazing. The children still talk about him a lot. The hotels were great, some of them even outstanding. Your recommended tours were very helpful. Best wishes to you!
Karin Barrell – Switzerland
We had a WONDERFUL time! Everything from the hotel, to the tour, to the guide, to actually seeing and climbing the pyramids was fantastic! In particular I wanted to let you know that our tour guide was great! On the way there he gave us an overview of the region and the culture and when we got there he was extremely knowledgeable about the history of the ruins, (which was surprisingly more complicated than we expected) and about the flora and fauna in the area. He was able to answer all our questions, let us choose how we wanted the tour to go and how much time we wanted to spend in each area, and still fit in a lot of the campus in relatively short amount of time we had!
We would highly recommend the package we got to anyone!! Feel free to publish these comments!!
Colleen Dorr – Ohio
El lunes llegué de este hermoso viaje. De verdad fue muy pero muy lindo además de SUPER bien atendido. Tropical Discovery en realidad se portó un 7 super atentos todas las personas que nos atendieron. La hotelería TOP!!!, obviamente de acuerdo a cada lugar. Vengo con todas las ganas de vender Guatemala, es un destino realmente increíble.
Mariluz Gonzalez - Chile
Thanks so much for your help. Our trip was amazing and we all had a great time! Everything went smoothly and we were easily able to contact your company in Nicaragua for any changes to do with pick up times. I am planning on going through Tropical Discovery on a week long trip when I can afford it! Thanks again!
Jill Olejniczak - Ohio
I wanted to thank you for your service and help. We enjoyed our trip very much. I personally like the environment of Camino Real, beautiful lake, no people, warm water. It was a great trip and a wonderful service.
Aleksandr Zhorntiskiy - New York
Thank you for following up on our vacation. We had a great time in Guatemala and Honduras and were very pleased with your transportation services and drivers. The drivers have all showed up on time, were courteous and in the case of Arturo also gave interesting background on the area and country. The SUV we had travelled in was considerably more comfortable than the minivan (in particular regarding suspension), which does make a difference when taking the long drive from Guatemala City to Copan (which we rode in the Minivan). Thanks for help making our vacation go smoothly. Please feel free to include these comments on your website. Best regards,
Roy Weisner - New York
Our vacation was fantastic. We had a great time in Antigua. As always, we enjoyed our stay at Hotel Casa Azul; it provided a rustic, homey setting in an absolutely beautiful garden atmosphere. We always try to split our time between at least two hotel settings whenever we travel. From Casa Azul we moved to the Casa Santo Domingo, which is perhaps the most beautiful hotel we have ever seen. The atmosphere and service there are unparalleled and have to be seen to be believed.
Antigua was a lot of fun; we tried new restaurants ("Sangre" is one you should try -- it's by the arch, offering a range of foods paired with wine in a trendy outdoor setting. Jeff, the owner, made a point of talking with us for a while, and with every table of guests.) And while we did not get to stay there, we would highly recommend you try the hotel Casa Vechio (not sure of the spelling.) It's on 5a. Calle Oriente, a few blocks east of the square. It's red stucco with a large black (new) lamp sticking out. It has four rooms, each of which is stunning, along with the most spectacular gardens we saw in Antigua. We would like to split our stay between this one and Santo Domingo next time.
We went to your Antigua offices and your colleagues were most helpful in recommending different things to do in the area. We appreciate your help with our vacation and would recommend use of your company again.
David D. - Washington DC
Thank you - We had a wonderful vacation in Guatemala - the hotel we booked through you Banana Palms exceeded our expectation - it was a beautiful location and despite the fact that not a single employee spoke english we managed very well - the hotel was well kept up - the pool clean and surrounding view and gardens delightful. A welcome spot to stay just removed the business of Fronteras and conveniently located right next door to the castillo.
Catherine Family - Virginia
We are back to the States now. The trip was wonderful, we all enjoyed ourselves tremendously! We each have our favorites spots, sites and meals, but what a wonderful experience we all had! I do think it should be known that while the guides we used were good, Julio was so well informed and enthusiastic as a tour guide he was outstanding above the rest.
I can not thank you enough for helping us realize a dream. I would highly recommend your services to anyone. We will be talking again about our future trips. If you would like a formal letter please let me know.
Also please contact us about when you come to Miami. We would like to meet you but more importantly I believe you and my friend Teddi can do some business together. It should of great benefit. Thank you again,
Mary Scott Canada - Florida
Guatemala & Honduras Vacation
Thank you for a great trip. We had a wonderful experience in Guatemala and you and the Tropical Team had a lot to do with making that a reality.
Gregg Steinberg - Illinois, US
Thanks to you and your service, our trip was fabulous. Everything went as planned and ground transportation was on time and comfortable. Your recommendations were perfect and your staff were courteous, friendly, helpful and charming. The only regret I have is that I didn't have you arrange the boating excursion to three towns for shopping and sight-seeing and the volcano hike, at Lake Atitlan. We will definitely use your services in the future and recommend your service to friends.
Rand Powell - Sacramento, CA
Tropical Discovery was absolutely wonderful in assisting in the planning of my trip to Copan, Honduras which is a really lovely little town. The hotel was top notch, and the tour to the bird park via horseback was fun. My guide was a really nice gentleman who was also the security guard in our hotel. I wound up using him again the next day for another ride to 3 hr ride to Hacienda Sal Lucas and the Copan River. Services were excellent and very fairly priced, and Tropical Discovery was gracious enough to also make recommendations when they did not find it necessary to pre-book certain tours. I highly recommend them, and plan to use them again for future Latin American travel.
Judy Tran – New York City
I just wanted to thank you for your time and assistance in our trip to Guatemala. Our drivers were excellent. We really appreciate your assistance when we were delayed in arriving in Guatemala City and then in changing our travel plans after my husband left his credit card in Antigua. We had the same driver from Antigua to Lake Atitlan and then from Lake Atitlan to Antigua/Guatemala City. He was wonderful. Our accommodation in Antigua and Lake Atitlan at Posado de Don Rodrigo was lovely. Service and cleanliness were outstanding.
Thank you again for your assistance,
Blaire Rios - TN, USA
Our vacation was wonderful. The country was very beautiful, hotel was very nice and peaceful, the staff was polite, courteous, prompt, eager to please, the food was fantastic and the tours were remarkable (highly recommend Belize Academy of Divers for all diving and snorkeling tours). We had the best time.
Thank you very much for your assistance w/ our vacation. We will think of Tropical Discovery next time we need a trip planned! Sincerely,
We were truly pleased with all the arrangements especially the Camino Real in Guatemala and in Tikal. Thanks for all your hard work,
Ms. Rosita Whitman
Director, International Department, Georgetown Preparatory School
We had a really wonderful time in Costa Rica. What a beautiful country. Sueno del Mar was everything we hoped for…perfect little B&B with personalized service in the most beautiful setting. After leaving Guanacaste we did make the trip down to Montezuma instead of Manuel Antonio (we’ll go there next time). I don’t know how you guys do it but you really have a knack for picking out the most perfect accommodations; I’m not sure if I can stay anywhere in Cenntral America that is not recommended by your agency.
All the best and thank you for your help!
Sara and Greg Girardi
Costa Rica Vacation
It's good to hear from you again. Thanks for asking about our trip. The arrangements that you made for us worked out great. The accommodations and your transportation arrangements in Guatemala were excellent. We'll certainly recommend you highly to anybody who wants to visit Central America. Guatemala is beautiful and the people are very friendly. We also greatly appreciated the loan of the cell phone as it was reassuring to know that we could get in touch with you if we needed to.
Guatemala & Belize Vacation
Our trip to Roatan was exceptional. We stayed at Paradise Beach Resort. A lovely quiet place with good clean, comfortable surroundings. It is only a 2+ hour trip from Houston and you are in an island paradise. It is not a 5 star type island, but a fantastic place to kick back and relax, not to mention the scuba and snorkling are exceptional. Thanks for your help in making the bookings.
Our vacation was very nice. the accomodations you booked were as advertised, the transportation was on time & easy to use and the price was competitive (as sometimes you travel and find better deals once you get there). I have book marked your website and plan to use your services in the future and would recommend you to my friends.
Thank you for your message. I was actually planning to email you about our trip, but you beat me to it! We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Lake Atitlan. The entire day was handled professionally and efficiently from beginning to end. The lake was beautiful, and each village we visited during our boat ride was unique and interesting. The highlight of our trip was undoubtedly Julio Andres, our guide. His knowledge of the area, English skills, and outgoing personality really made our day special. It was such a pleasure spending the day with him, and he was extraordinarily patient with our endless curiosity and questions. My friend and I plan to return to Guatemala again in the future, and will definitely be using Tropical Discovery for our tours when we return. We also strongly hope that Julio can be our guide wherever we go. Please pass along our thanks and gratitude to him. Regards,
We had a great time. Hotels excellent, drivers and trips very well organized and everyone was very pleasant. We would definitely book through Tropical Discovery again and are thinking of taking a group of friends to Guatemala for next New Year.
Bill Hilary & Family - New York
Thank you so much for planning a magical “grand tour” of Guatemala for our gang of eight from Seattle. As you know, this entailed a complicated itinerary with four cities and multiple side trips. The arrangements were flawlessly executed, and we were very impressed by the punctuality and professionalism of our drivers and guides. The hotels and our accommodations were gorgeous. Please visit our website at ww.crowleyassoc.com/guatemala for a recap of the trip. We cannot recommend Guatemala as a destination and Tropical Discovery Services as an agency too strongly. Best,
Marie McCaffrey and Walt Crowley - Seattle WA
Guatemalan Mayan Vacation
Thanks so much for all your help in making our trip to Guatemala the trememdous success that it was. We had a wonderful time and truly enjoyed the hotels that you suggested (we stayed one more night at Hotel Atitlan!) We found the staff at both hotels helpful and kind. And we loved learning about Guatemala and its' rich culture. We will certainly call you if planning another trip to the region. And we will recommend you to our friends. Muchas Gracias,
Eileen & Friends
Our trip was amazing. We took your advice and split our trip between the mountains and the beach. Thank you for that, because of your advice we were able to experience the culture that the countryside had to offer. You and your company were professional and extremely helpful and you made planning our Honeymoon an easy pleasure. Everything was taken care of down to the transfers from airport to hotels. We would be honored to use your company when we return to Central America. Thank you,
Lisa and Saul Fuentes - SF, California
Just a quick note to tell you how well everything went. All aspects were flawless. I am fixing my web site to reflect the actual trip (notice that I currently have Rio Dulce in the wrong place). Happy to write you a great blurb or you can lift it from my site. I will let you know when it is done. Totally blown away by Guatemala and Tropical Discovery.
Marie McCaffrey - San Francisco, CA
My wife and I enjoyed the Nicaragua tour very much. Our biggest surprise was how safe the country was and how friendly the people there (people at Leon were less friendly though). This is my twelfth country in Central and South America and Nicaragua was the safest. This time we picked the town tours (Managua, Granada and Leon) mostly and the towns were not so exciting (although enjoyable) because we are basically nature lovers. We did not do very nature nature tour because we were concerned about the safety there. Next time we will do more nature type activities (e.g., Rio San Joan tour). The volcano at Masaya was too easy to reach. We think we should have stayed in Isla Ometepe for a couple of days. The visit to the island was our highlight this time. The town (Rivas) we visited before riding on a ship to Ometepe had a very beautiful church. The paintings there were superb.
The quality of the guide (Jose) was very good! He speaks good English and he knows very well. He was the best guide I have ever met in Central and South America. He studies the country deeply and explained really well what we wanted to know. He was not so a cheerful guy, but he was very trustworthy. When our car was stopped and somehow intimidated by the police, he firmly rejected an unreasonable request and protected us. When we were tangled with a drunken, he again protected us in a determined
manner. If we have another chance to visit Nicaragua, he will definitely
be our pick. One thing we would like to mention is that we felt that the lunch for the guide should have been included in the tour fee. The places where we ate were probably too expensive for him to eat and he tried to eat somewhere else. This will affect your cost, but this will give better impression to the guests, I believe.
The hotel selection was also good. We liked the hotel very much. The people there were good and friendly. The room was clean and had a nice view. The location was convenient. We liked the Colonial style building so much! Overall, I am quite satisfied with your services and the tour arrangement. If you would like to use any of the above statement for your website, feel free to do so. Thank you very much for everything.
Shigenao Noda - Japan/California
The Panza Verde is fabulous, as you know. We upgraded to a suite as the "double" was a bit small and also essentially right in the restaurant.
The Jazz and Cuban music could be a bit loud but the food was great.
Fortunately, we were there on a Sunday and Monday so they only had brunch and weren't serving dinner. The suites were elegant and huge compared to the double. The Pensativo was likewise very beautiful and run by a group of sweet people. The bathroom and closet were as big as our first room at the Panza Verde. We will be back for sure. Thanks for your help and counsel with the reservations.
Michael Motley - New Mexico, USA
Our 2 week trip to Guatemala (11 nights) & Belize (3 nights) was truly one of those trips of a lifetime! Thanks to the amazing and well-organised itinerary put together by Ken at Tropical Discovery as well as the sheer beauty of the places we visited, we LOVED our holiday, we want to return, and we would recommend this to anyone. Antigua was a lovely starting place to get our bearings (no more than 3 nights necessary). Take a morning tour with Elizabeth Bell Tours to get your bearings on the history and politics of the region. We very much enjoyed our energetic 3 hour hike past coffee plantations at the foot of one of the nearby majestic volcanoes. We liked Meson de Maria better than La Casa Encantada for location and space but loved them both. Relax at Rikki’s Bar every night after a day of monastery and convent tours. Also Sky Bar is worth the walk, great view and fun atmosphere. Next, a short flight to the Peten Jungle to visit Tikal was so worth it, the Mayan temples were awesome. We took in sunset from the temple facing west and watched loads of spider monkeys and green macaw birds playing in the dusk (don’t linger as it gets dark fast and we were running looking for a salida (exit) at 6 p.m. almost very lost!) We stayed at the lovely quiet La Lancha Resort on the nearby lake where howler (monster-sounding) monkeys awaken you every morning. Lovely canoe ride to take in the local birdlife. The private ferry ride to the little town of Flores was also lovely and we enjoyed a couple of mojitos at one of the restaurants overlooking the lake, watching the locals swim and play. There ensued a scary but unforgettably fun plane ride to Belize in a 6 seater plane flying into a thunderstorm (you have to shut your own windows !). You fly over Tikal, the Yaxha Mayan ruins where they filmed Survivor, the Guatemalan / Belize border, the Belize prison and beautiful jungles, lakes and then the gorgeous sea / barrier reef. 3 nights at Ramon’s Resort in San Pedro (the Madonna Song), Belize, was a real hoot –. It’s flat and made for bicycles with paths right along the beachfront so a blast for bike riding on rental bikes. Amazing food at Mangoes on the beach. We really did snorkel with sharks and sting rays, moray eels, barracudas, etc. at Shark Ray Alley which was not scary at all, thanks to our guide Crazy Andy. You just jump in like all the other dummies and gawk for 2 hours underwater saying WOW to yourself over and over again. A great mishmash of races and cultures makes the place chilled out and interesting. The famous market of Chichi was our next step on our way to Lake Atitlan, worth it if even just to gawk at all the different foods cooking in the market at lunch time. Came out of there with gorgeous table cloths and woollen blankets for great prices. Do check out the Mayan rituals on the church steps. Lake Atitlan was our last stop – breathtakingly beautiful. I believe that Hotel Atitlan was the most beautiful hotel I’ve every stayed in – two double beds in our room with view of the lake and volcanoes, Infiniti Jacuzzi overlooking the lake by the pool, and tasteful furnishings throughout with a fabulous gift shop – all at only $ 120 per night ! Getting the tuk tuk into Panachajel every night (1 kilometer away) was a blast and the little town is hopping with fun at night. We did the boat village tour thing (take the public boats, only 25 Quetzales and very sturdy and reliable). Don’t go to Santiago across the lake, it’s a dump, very disappointing. San Pedro on the other hand was lovely, once you find the nice side of town. (Others told us the village of San Cristobal? was even nicer). After walking the town of San Pedro checking out the indigenous scene, save time for dining at one of the restaurants on the lake – exquisite view and fit for a very lazy boozy lunch, perfect. Good kayaking opportunities there. The private driver Antonio organized by Tropical Discovery was always there on time and a lovely man. The cell phone provided to us as part of the tour package (with free incoming calls) allowed us to stay in touch with the kids back home on a daily basis (invaluable). We had no mishaps or sickness. Apparently the rainy season ended the week before we got there (we arrived on October 16th) so we lucked out with perfect weather and not too many tourists. My Spanish was embarrassingly bad, yet we got on absolutely fine. In short, we had 15 days of nothing but giggles and appreciation for the beauty and friendliness of Guatemala and Belize as well as the fascinating history of the Mayans which brought us there in the first place. I have already recommended Tropical Discovery to several friends and will whole-heartedly continue to do so.
Juliana and Nic Snelling - Bermuda
Guatemala & Belize Vacation
Thanks for your email. Yes, we had a great time on our trip! Costa Rica is a beautiful country. In terms of hotels, I can definitely give you some feedback. The Tabacon was wonderful and very nicely maintained. Both Lisa and I were very impressed. I also would say that the El Sapo Dorado was a very charming mountain retreat ... and we really enjoyed the dinners served at their restaurant!
Our last hotel, however, didn't live up to our expectations ... it was the Tulemar in Manuel Antonio. Although the location was perfect and the views from the bungalows were spectacular, the amenities just needed some serious upgrading. It looked like nothing in the rooms were upgraded since the 1980s and there were insects everywhere. Certainly, we realized that we're in the middle of a rainforest, but all the other hotels managed to be insect free. Also, the phones weren't working properly. When we complained, the hotel staff didn't do much to help us out. Oh well ... things happen.
For your future clients though, I would suggest some other ground transportation alternatives if they are doing a similar itinerary. The roads from Tabacon (Arenal) to Monteverde are horrible. Instead of just driving, there is a boat ride option (and then a short ride in a 4X4) that can get you to Monteverde in half the time and half the cost. Just something to think about. Also, from Manuel Antonio to San Jose, another option to consider for future clients is a quick (30min.) flight from nearby Quepos Airport into San Jose. Just some suggestions ...
Thanks so much for booking all of our hotels and ground transportation connections in Costa Rica! Having you book the trip for us and figure out the ground transportation logistics saved us a great deal of headache! We had a great adventure vacation! Again, thanks.
Annie Nam - Los Angeles, CA
Costa Rica Vacation
I had a lovely stay in culture-rich Guatemala and fully enjoyed Antigua and Tikal. Antigua was serene, one-of-a-kind colonial town, with a character and personality of its own. I found the hotel we stayed in, La Casa Encantada, lovely, cozy, charming and the service excellent! Tikal was an eye-opening experience and we were amazed and awed by the richness of the site. I will recommend Guatemala any day.... Let me also thank you for making the necessary arrangements. All generally went very well. Best regards,
Margarette Graham - Haiti
Now that they have left, I have time to answer my emails! They had a wonderful time! Everything worked out so smoothly and you definitely provided number one service. I can honestly recommend you to anyone that comes to visit. One of the kids that went said he learned more on his trip to Tikal than he did all year in college. I told him, that was just great but I couldn´t say the same about the his college´s performance. I will keep you in my mind the next time I have guests! Someday, perhaps we will meet in person. Thank you once again,
Deborah - Guatemala City
Tikal Tour and Stay
As I told you briefly, our trip to Guatemala surpassed all of our expectations. The plans you made for us, including itinerary, lodging, drivers and suggestions for outside activities were right on target. We've traveled extensively and, after talking to you on the phone the first time, I was confident that you would capture the essence of what we wanted the trip to be.
We enjoy boutique hotels, traveling on our own time and unique experiences and that is exactly what you provided. Our first hotel, Casa Encantada, in Antigua was probably my favorite. We had, at your suggestion, reserved the Suite and it was one of the loveliest rooms I've ever stayed in. We did, however, spend one night in Room 7, right off the water garden and it was equally charming, although a bit smaller. The staff provides five star service and couldn't be friendlier. Proceeding to Chichicastenango, after a stop in San Juan Comalapa to shop for art, in order to stay the night before and after the incredible market day, we found ourselves in the Hotel Santo Thomas. Part museum, part tropical garden, this charming hotel was perfectly located for walking back and forth to the market with our many purchases. The fireplace in the room was graciously lit at night by a smiling Maya in native dress who shared a lot of information about Chichicastenango life.
Our next stop at Hotel Atitlan was one of the trip highlights for me. Your driver stopped at the hotel so that we could leave our luggage and then took us directly to Panachel where he helped us hire a private launch. I wanted to go to Santiago Atitlan and San Pedro de Laguna to attempt to find a couple of painters I've long admired. The ride across the lake is a treat in itself, but arriving at these two villages, climbing over primitive piers and then eventually finding the artists I was searching for was a tremendous thrill and privilege. One artist was preparing for an exhibit at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC and we were able to see a significant body of work from his entire family. For those who love naif art, these villages are a treasure trove of delights. It was also a pleasure to return to the Hotel Atitlan, sit in the jacuzzi overlooking the lake and then enjoy our lake view rooms.
Moving on....After a short flight to Flores/Tikal we were met and taken to La Lancha, a truly marvelous experience. This is a uniquely designed jungle lodge with five star service and a very laid back atmosphere. Having injured an ankle, I spent the day in a hammock on the shaded porch of the lake view casita; my husband and our two friends toured Tikal. Although they loved the experience, I actually loved my hammock time. We were thrilled, having been warned, to hear the howler monkeys in the middle of the night....a surreal sound not to be forgotten. Our only regret was that we hadn't booked three nights to simply enjoy the location. We ended our trip with a night at the Quinta Real, a bit outside of the main part of Guatemala City but close to the airport. This is a beautiful hotel. There are no bad rooms. All are huge and exquisitely decorated...a lovely place to end a trip.
So again I extend many thanks, and I hope that within the near future we'll be able to come back and explore other parts of Guatemala and return to the places we grew to love. With very warm regards,
Janed Sax - California
We had a really wonderful holiday in Guatemala which exceeded all our expectations. The itinerary you organized for us worked really well and we didn’t have to think about a thing except enjoying ourselves. The drivers and tour guides we had were all very knowledgeable and helpful especially Cesar who was really nice to travel with.
The hotels you chose for us apart from the Banana Palms which I would not recommend were all very good. Mansion el Pensativo in Antigua was in a really good position with beautiful grounds and the staff could not have been more helpful. We especially liked Villa Maya and Casa Polopo. Villa Maya even though it was in a quiet location the rooms were very good, it has a beautiful pool and the staff were excellent. It was a really great spot to relax after a day visiting the ruins in Tikal and was close enough to Flores to be an easy taxi ride away. Casa Polopo the perfect place to stay for the last few days of our trip. It is one of the best hotels we have stayed in. The room was amazing with the most incredible view of Lake Atitlan and they have an excellent restaurant. We would love to return there one day. Many thanks to all your team and we look forward to booking with you again,
Marcel and Marcelle - Paris, France
Sorry for the delay in responding to you about our trip. It was terrific, and we are appreciative of all the excellent arrangements and personal interest that went into the planning and implementing of our itinerary.
I am going to write you a more detailed "evaluation" and to include my comments in your guest comments page. things have been hopping here since our return, but I will get to it as quickly as I can. In the meantime, please know how delighted we were with our trip, with the hotels, with our van drivers and, most of all, with how you well you personally handled everything, including the minor glitch going to from Rio Dulce to La Lancha. Thanks for making it all a memorable vacation.
Elly Glat - New York
We had the most awesome trip. Guatemala is one of the most exciting and beautiful vacations we’ve ever had. We loved the people and their culture. I have to tell you that we just adored Hotel Casa Encantada. It was perfect for us. We loved the location of the hotel and its quaintness. The staff also really made it special, they were so gracious, kind and helpful. We wouldn’t stay anywhere else. Thank you so much for recommending this hotel to us. We feel really lucky to have stayed there.
We loved the views and the décor of Hotel Atitlan, also the location was perfect. We would most likely stay there again as well as it seemed to be the nicest in the area. The only thing was is it was a bit jarring to be in such a large hotel and surrounded by so many tourists after staying in Encantada. Unfortunately they were loud American tourists…but there’s no way to control that.
Thank you so much for your recommendations and for handling all of the reservations. We really appreciated it and were so thrilled with our trip! When we plan our next trip to Central America I’ll be back on the Tropical Discovery website and I’ll call you for your advice!
Sara Girardi - Evanston, Illinois
Just wanted to thank you for the itinerary for our Guatemala, Honduras, and Belize trip. We hiked most of the trails at Hidden Valley, walked 7 miles at Tikal, snorkled, shopped, swam in the many pools under the waterfalls, ate, ate, ate and drank more. We so enjoyed the places that you selected we truly can say that we saw the highlights of the three countries. We had only one concern: our stay at Banana Palms, we did not rec. the welcoming drink that the other guests rec'd, they came in 5 min after we entered our room and had us sign how many towels were in the room, they tried to charge us for having more than 3 cups of coffee, the patio door was broken. The help looked over worked and not too friendly. The tours from there were perfect and the location was great but don't put other guests there. In their complaint book they had pages of people who complained about them. I did not write in the book. Thanks so much for your help, we will recommend you without reservation.
Pat & Jerry Martinez - Colorado
Guatemala, Honduras & Belize Vacation
We were all COMPLETELY impressed with Guatemala and very pleased with every aspect of the trip. I'm very grateful for all of the planning you did. I'll write very soon with more detail about hotels, experiences, etc. and send a letter that you can actually use as an endorsement. Your team did a GREAT job and we're very grateful. Much warmth,
Janed Sax - California
Our vacation to Belize and Guatemala was nothing less than perfect! From incredible hotels to terrific tours, our vacation exceeded our expecations in every way! Tropical Discovery went above and beyond their duties. Everything was planned and organized for us in our customized itinerary, so we were able to leave our worries at home. Thank you for making our dream vacation come true!
Janel Andronico - San Francisco, CA
Belize & Guatemala Vacation
You made our first trip to Nicaragua wonderful, safe, and problem free. You didn't know about our problems with flights though!! With the snowstorm approaching, we worked with American Air to reroute us. We actually got up at 3:15 am, drove to Baltimore, flew to Chicago then Miami and finallly Managua....what an experience. We just didn't want to miss one minute of the trip!! Morgan's Rock is an amazing concept. We definitely want to return. Los Robles was better than we could have imagined. La Gran Francia was awesome. I don't know if you knew, I believe, UNESCO was staying there also so it was a sight!!!! We probably will plan for the very end of the year or beginning of the year to return. However, I know that you like Guatemala so that might be a possiblity also. Please definitely add our comments in your web site. We have NO PROBLEM with you using our names or other info. We are just so thrilled how well it went. We look forward to working with you VERY SOON.
Connie and Michael Beck - Landisville, PA
We had an absolutely wonderful trip. Our favorite hotel and city was Chichi. We were at the hotel Santo Thomas. I loved the fireplaces in the rooms. The room was very large and had two separate bedrooms with in one hotel room. The food was great and the hotel staff was very friendly. The music in the afternoons was great to listen to and the parrots in the courtyard were great.
The hotel in the town right outside of Flores was also great. The rooms were very clean and the staff was friendly. We didn't stay at this hotel much, basically we were just there to sleep.
The hotel in Guatemala City was like staying in a five star American hotel. I felt like I was back in the United States. The rooms were large, clean and with all the typical amenities. Hot water all the time was a welcome treat. The business center was spacious and had an attendant there for questions. The restaurants served great food.
All the drivers you arranged for us were great. They were friendly and knowledgeable about the tourist things. They gave us good suggestions of places to eat and things to do. The cars/vans we were transported in were also clean and very comfortable. Thanks again for helping us have a great trip.
Stephanie Lavin - Fort Worth, TX
Our trip was terrific. Most delightful was the help we received from both your own service, and those places you recommended and booked for us. Not only were the people at the hotels very helpful, but they went out of their way to arrange for transportation, help us make necessary phone calls to change other reservations, and even gladly changed our room reservations there to meet the changes we decided to make mid-trip. The Hotel del Patio was a particular treat; when we returned back through Flores at the end of our trip, it really felt like we were coming home! We will gladly use and recommend your services in the future to others!
Thanks again for your help and hospitality. Feel free to share these comments with future clients. they will not be disappointed in your services!
Ivan Z - Lexington, KY
Yes, we had a great trip to Nicaragua and thanks to your organization we were met at the Managua airport and taken to Granada in a timely fashion. Unfortunately, our driver didn't speak English and we didn't speak Spanish (shame on us) so a bystander interpreted our desire to add on a side trip to Masaya, which we did - to the market - and had a fun time seeing/ buying the wares, etc. This was a quick insight into the nature of Nicaragua as there were many kids begging for money but also friendly kids who spoke enough English to accompany us through the market to help us in "negotiations"! They were rewarded accordingly. We wish this hadn't been our very first "event" in the country and could have worked up to "shopping", but too difficult to discuss visiting the volcano instead. Granada's Hotel Colonial is charming!! We appreciated the intimacy of this small, yet wandering hotel. The (French) proprietor's son, Julian, took us to the isletas the following day when we couldn't coordinate a tour w/ our pick-up time for Morgan's Rock. Julian was most accommodating. I would suggest Hotel Colonial to the family who wants a real taste of Granada, in a charming colonial building which hasn't become too commercialized. Our canopied beds were beautiful and the colorful tiled bathrooms spacious! Thank you for your help in arranging this!
Woody & Mary Lawson - Massachusetts
We arrived back refreshed from our travels in Guatemala. Thank you Tropical Discovery for your care and attention to the details of our trip. Our stay at the Camino Real in Tikal was enjoyable. The Mayan ruins of Tikal are a marvel to discover - even with small children. The jewel in the crown of our adventures was the Lion's Inn in Antigua. The setting and service are superb and we do not hesitate to recommend this villa for those who appreciate the very highest standard. A sejour at the Lion's Inn is like a home away from home - and more. Rosana and Rudy arranged for a special New Year's Eve dinner for us at the Inn. They found a great nanny to take care of our boys so that we could explore Antigua and surroundings. The guide/driver you provided for our trips to Lake Atitlan and Chichicastenango found picturesque points to stop to take in the view.
We particularly appreciated the time and personalised effort given to us by Ken Layton of Tropical Discovery with respect to the most appropriate hotel and travel arrangements for our Family. We were travelling with my Father in law and our two sons ages 3 and 4 years. Ken took the time to ensure that all was arranged both prior to and during our trip, including arranging for our transportation to and from the airport and around Tikal and Antigua. Ken was always available and agreeable to discuss our various queries. With appreciation, Yours sincerely,
Family Shaw Cannabrava - Embassy of Brazil to Mexico
Your service was terrific. Thank you. I was particularly pleased that all the transfers went smoothly, as this is always a risk for independent travelers that aren’t using a rental car.
Accommodations at Casa Encantada, La Lancha and Blancaneaux were all superb. The terrace suite at Casa Encantada was lovely. La Lancha was great value but clients should be aware that there are a lot of steps. (Ninety-nine steps from our room to the restaurant.) Fabulous accommodations at Blancaneux - - and the best gnocchi I’ve ever had. Also best massage I’ve ever had. Beautiful gardens. Only problem is that the surrounding pine forests have been destroyed by beetles.
Byron loved the diving on the Belize coast but we were both eaten alive by sand flies and sand fleas. It was awful. Treetop room at Hamanasi was very nice but it had no view of anything - - scrawny trees go up 20’ feet or so and just about hug the buildings. Little air flow and you can’t open the windows anyway because the sand fleas get in. Food at Hamanasi was mediocre. Byron says the dive staff was excellent.
Tikal was the highlight of the trip. If you don’t have a suggested Mayan tour, it would be great to put one together that included Tikal, Copan and one or two sites in Mexico.
Thanks again for all your help. Having the detailed itinerary and suggested activities was super. I will recommend Tropical Discoveries to friends planning to go to Central America.
Belize & Guatemala Vacation
We were extremely happy with the Camino Real....its really a spectacular hotel....great view and location...lovely ambience. Some nice additions like the evening boat cruise, feeding the fist and turtles and the morning hike offered free of charge to hotel guests. The service too was fine.
We love Guatemala...this is our second trip there....Tikal, Lake Atitilan area and Antigua are memorable....and so are places like Quirigia and Yaxha. The people and culture and markets all make it very special. Cheers and keep up the good service.
Sheila Hooda - New York
Guatemala Family Vacation
Our trip was wonderful with all the arrangements working out except the lack of twin beds at the Casa Encatada which I told you about. The only change to the itinerary I would have made was to spend one less day in Rio Dulce and one more at Lake Atitlan. I really wish we had time to take a boat ride on the lake and visit the villages. The La Lancha was 1st class with all the employees going out of their way to make our stay enjoyable. The guides we had there for both days were exceptional, especially Jesus Antonio. We also enjoyed our driver César Pérez who was so kind and helped us negotiate prices at the market in Chichicastenango.
Thank you for arranging an unforgettable trip for us! We were able to relax and enjoy our holiday knowing you had taken care of all the details. Guatemala and its people are fascinating and we would love to return someday.
Nolasco Family - California
Happy New Year to you! .....we had a fabulous trip to Belize. The Blancaneaux Lodge was so beautiful and tranquil, we really did not want to leave. I was pleasantly surprised at the friendliness, seemingly genuine, of all the competent staff. They went out of their way to make us feel comfortable and relaxed. We dined well, (loved the organic garden), and enjoyed the many fine Coppela wines. Hiked to a gorgeous waterfall, practically had it to ourselves to swim, wander and read in the sunshine.
On to Portofino: San Pedro is o.k. as a small town, but rather crowded and not terribly attractive. Glad we stayed on the beach at Portofino. We must have arrived just before the busy season, because some nights it was just us for dinner! We had a wonderful scuba dive master from Costa Maya take us out to the the reef to see some amazing fish, sharks, sting rays, etc. Such clear, clean water. Everyone was terrifically warm, welcoming and hospitable. We would return, probably to Turtle Bay. Think that would have everything we could need or want!! We appreciate you Ken for being so accommodating when we changed our plans. You made life much easier for us. Thank you again for all your knowledge and expertise!!
Nini and Lyn - Virginia
We had a truly fantastic holiday. Guatemala was beautiful, peaceful and really better than we expected. Lake Atitlan was great but undoubtedly Antigua was the highlight. All accommodation and travel arrangements were good and we are already planning our next trip.
Bill Hilary - New York
Guatemala Family Vacation
We had a wonderful time. I had intended on stopping to meet you in person, but the time went by so fast and our time in Antigua really was too short. The Hotel Casa Santo Domingo was fabulous. It is truly a magical place. Hotel Atitlan was wonderful as well. You were right with your recommendation of staying there as opposed to Casa Palopoa. We met some friends there and it was very nice....but more secluded and a little too quiet. Your country is beautiful and the people are helpful and friendly. I most certainly will recommend Tropical Discoveries to those I know that will be traveling to the areas you represent. Thank you for your help.
Cynthia Arboleda – Miami FL
Absolutely marvelous!! What attention to detail and what a fine staff. We came home only wanting more and , of course, telling all our friends. The Tikal tour guide gave me as much information about anthropology as I learned in a full semester at Cal Berkeley. Very erudite. Incredible food and wine plus the lake and the lack of mosquitoes was a most unexpected treasure. Good work and we will be back asap o lo mas pronto que sea posible. gracias por todo.
Karen and Don Attix - Nevada
We are very pleased with your first class service and professionalism. You can be sure that you will hear from us again in the near future.
It was a pleasure doing business with you and your agency.
Alfredo Toriello - Guatemala City
Roatan Honduras Vacation
We had an absolutely wonderful time. Everything we arranged through you - Victoria House and the internal flights - were perfect. The hotel was lovely, the food and service were terrific and the staff could not have been nicer. The snorkeling, fishing and resort dives which we arranged through Victoria House's dive shop were all fantastic. Our kids were treated like royalty and didn't want to leave. We also enjoyed riding bikes and golf carts into San Pedro for a few meals and some delicious custard ice cream. The flights took off as scheduled and the logistics, thanks largely to you I'm sure, were incredibly easy. Thank you again for all your help. You did a great job.
Bonnie Hirsch - Los Angeles, CA
We were absolutely delighted with our trip and we think that Tropical Discovery is the only way to go to Central America. We think you were very professional and very thorough.
Susan Berglowe - Boca Raton, FL
Guatemala & Belize Tour
For all its joys, foreign travel can also be highly stressful, whether one speaks the language or not. Thanks to "Tropical Discovery" we were able to completely relax and trust in the high quality of drivers, guides and protectors who handled all matters large and small during our adventures and eco-tours. I am delighted to endorse this company and its owners, as the professionals they truly are.
Ronald S. Ross - President, American College (ACCE)
Tropical Discovery arranged everything for us so that all we had to do was sit back and relax. He even helped us plan our wedding in Antigua, which was the most amazing location for a beautiful ceremony. The ceremony was at Meson Panza Verde, truly one of the most beautiful and unique places to stay in Guatemala. Thanks so much for planning an amazing trip - it meant a lot to us that our guests felt so comfortable with the travel plans you made. Everyone had a wonderful time and they're all talking about getting back to Guatemala as soon as possible. Thanks for everything!
Ashley - Washington DC
In a word awesome! Thank you for planning a flawless vacation.
I look forward to booking with you again.
Gary Gershony - San Francisco, CA
I have nothing but good things to say about our stay at Mansion el Pensativo and Guatamala in general. The hotel and service were absolutely wonderful. I would definitely stay there again! The only regret I have is not taking more time to actually see the town of Antigua. We filled most of the days with trips, so I spent more time in a van than I would have liked and less time actually getting to check out Antigua. The country was beautiful though and everyone was so friendly. Thanks for all of the help.
Taylor - Washington DC
Thank you for your help and follow up. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay both at the Casa Encantada (we recommended it to others in our conference who were staying on after the seminar) and Antigua. Everything went very smoothly and the weather was terrific. Great HOLIDAY!
Jmac - Toronto, Canada
When we first arrived in Belize City and were informed that Hurricane Emily had forced the evacuation of Ambergris Caye, we didn't know what we were going to do. On top of that, our luggage went missing. But before we even had a chance to look for a phone to call another hotel or contact our travel insurance provider, a driver appeared holding a sign with our names on it. He said that you'd sent him to take us to our second hotel in the safe interior of the country. While other panicked passengers took immediate return flights home, we began our vacation, amazed by the fact that before we'd even landed, you'd taken the initiative to reschedule our hotel and transportation plans. You quite literally saved our trip. Everyone that we've spoken to about your efforts has also been amazed that a travel agent would take such a personal interest in our time, comfort, well-being and investment! I can't thank you enough. On another note, I was also impressed by the fact that the staff at the hotels knew you by name and that you seemed to have close personal relationships with them.
We would definitely travel with Tropical Discovery again and would highly recommend you to anyone. Feel free to give out my email address to any interested parties for a reference! Thanks, again!
Yes the trip was brilliant and I can't thank you enough for sorting us out. I've been telling everyone here in the office about the great job you did and how lucky we were to have booked through you, they were amazed when I explained how you re-arranged our trip for us and agreed that it was above and beyond anything they'd expect from a travel agency. Some of them have asked for your details so with any luck you will be hearing from them in the future, and of course you'll be hearing from us again next time we're taking a trip. Thanks a million,
Glenn Stewart - Los Angeles, CA
Just a quick note to thank you for what has been one of the most exhilarating and memorable of trips. Fanny and I will never forget the trekking in thick jungle, swimming in underground rivers, bathing for hours in hot volcanic springs, waterskiing and wake boarding along rivers surrounded by awe inspiring scenery, visiting volcanoes on horseback, Mayan history and the ancient ruins of Tikal that make the mind boggle, relaxing and getting close to nature in such well organised eco lodges, Bernie our inspiring swash buckling host, guide, cook and Guatemalan historian, hanging out in luxury with great food and service at the Magnolia Ranch, Antigua a beautiful town with its churches, monasteries, great shops, hotels and restaurants, driving through some of the worlds most diverse landscapes and ecosystems, buying ponchos and fabrics high in the mountains at the Chichicastenango market (we cannot wait to go back to this place), sun rise from the terrace of our room looking onto the Lake Aitilan one of largest volcanic craters in the world, I can go on and on and we were only with you guys for 10 days.... An amazing experience perfectly organised in a great country. Thank you we will return.
Jason and Fanny - Paris, France
Guatemela & Yucatan Tour
David and I had a wonderful time while traveling to Belize and Guatemala. Hidden Valley had wonderful accommodations and the staff was very friendly. We especially liked the bird watching tour that Rick took us on. We saw many different birds and learned a lot from the wealth of knowledge that Rick shared. La Lancha was a beautifully laid out resort with amazing views of the lake while being tucked into the jungle. It was nice to sit on the porch and listen to all of the wildlife around. We even got the chance to watch howler monkeys in the trees nearby. Our guide, Antonio, was fantastic. His passion for the Mayan history made our two days of touring very interesting and enjoyable. David and I both agreed that we would recommend Antonio to anyone heading in that direction. We especially enjoyed the day trip to Yaxha and Topoxte. Being on the island alone with our guide made it very special. It was our favorite part of the entire trip. We did enjoy Ambergris Caye as well. The white sandy beaches were very beautiful. It was nice to relax there before heading back to our busy lives. Thank you for all of your help in making our travels easy and comfortable. We will be sure to recommend your service to anyone that is thinking of traveling to Central America. Sincerely,
Stevenie Bayley & David Neuman - San Francisco
Belize & Guatemala Tour
Holidays went well. As an afterthought it would have been better to spend some time in Belize as well, but we can at least say that we thouroughly discovered Guatemala. I would have expected more from La Lancia in terms of service, view however was truly fantastic. On the contrary Casa Encantada was really charming. The only suggestion/advice I can give to you is that : 1. better not to book the room right at the corner because it is the noisiest. 2. the parking belongs to another hotel and is to be paid.
Thank you for your help and I will keep you in mind should we organize another trip in the tropics! Best regards
Kim Debenedet - Bassano del Grappa, Italy
Ken, we really enjoyed our stay in Antigua. The hotel was wonderful from staff to food, and probably the most unique hotel we have ever stayed at. We would like to thank you very much for your assistance with the transfers, and let you know that your driver was also excellent and very polite and knowledgeable. In the future, we will most definitely be returning to Guatemala with our daughter when the adoption is final, and we will definitely contact your company to make the travel arrangements. Thanks again, you guys were great!
John & Jodi Zullo - New Jersey
Guatemala Weekend Stay
We had a fantastic time. Both Jim and I were more then pleased with your assistance on arranging our lodging, tour with Bernie was incredible. Your driver Cesar was very pleasant to travel with, gave us great side information and spoke english well for 2 people who donot know spanish well!! His extra side tours of the textile facility was very interesting and we both truly enjoyed the experience. Coffee plantation was a bonus for us too! He did a great job, please let him know we enjoyed it all.
All of our lodging was beautiful and we found the Nitun Lodge to be our favorite, even though it was super hot for 2 Florida people. Bernie, Lore and his staff were so interesting to talk with and the food was incredible!! Absolutely loved Bernie's tour of Tikal ruins. So incredibly interesting his knowledge of the Mayan life and its people.
I would highly recommend your company to anyone and do not mind if you mention our names for recommendation of your companies services, experiences and overall general vacation experience. From start to finish you made our trip complete! Jim asked me how did I do all the planning and I told him it was your company who did most of it. He was impressed! Thanks again,
Dawn and Jim Hulett - St. Petersburg, FL
My sincerest apologies for not responding sooner. Just last night I was recommending you to a friend and remembered I never responded to your request for comments! As for our experience with your agency...top notch.
The bike tour with Juan Carlos around Antigua was great. He was full of information about the towns, Guatemalan history and just great company to hang out with! He even took us to a coffee plantation and we got the grand tour. Juan Carlos even walked us around the crops to see the families sorting the beans! Soooo fantastic. He was GREAT!!!
Pam & Ana - Chicago, IL
The trip was amazing! Thanks for all your help, the weather turned out great that next morning, so I’m glad we didn’t pack up and move! I have already told several people about your company and plan to refer many more. Cheers,
Scott W. Hellar - Greenbrae, CA
The Hidden Valley Inn holiday exceeded our expectations in every way and we were sorry that we only had five days to spare before our diving. The accommodation & general service were of a very high standard and I thought the food was outstanding. The unmade roads to the lodge were a bit of a challenge even for 4WD vehicles but it did not detract from the experience and the feeling of remote isolation and peacefulness at the Inn was total. Thanks for your help and advice.
Andrew & Julia - London UK
Tropical Discovery, you are our fabulous discovery! You arranged our wonderful excursions in Guatemala – hotels, tours, a private van and private boat, and caring personal attention from your staff. My husband and I are overwhelmed with your gracious consideration to every detail – big and small! Thank you, Tropical Discovery!
Joanna Martine Woolfork - New York, USA
Our stay in Rancho Magnolia was the best we had in Guatemala, you are an excellent host! We liked Antigua a lot. Lake Atitlan was nice, but the afternoons were very breezy and hazy, it might have been the time of the year. We saw a lot of villages and of course the market in Chichichinango (very touristic, but beautiful colours of the clothes of the Maya people) and I liked the church a lot. In case of staying in Amsterdam, give us a call/mail we kknow the city very well. And remember, in Holland is such a big frog a bewitched prince! Greetings.
Margreet and Teun Gooszen - Holland
Sorry for the delayed reply - been off travelling again for the Easter break (Sardinia this time!). Everything went incredibly well for the whole duration of the trip. Nicaragua was a revelation in the easygoing friendliness of the people and the beauty of the landscape - Olmetepe especially. Carlos was religiously punctual and very obliging whilst special mention goes to La Gran Francia - great hotel. I think Granada is well on the way to becoming the next Antigua of Central America.
Guatemala was wonderful as well, though understandably a bit more touristy (Panajachel is a bit of a horror but the lake and the hotel made up for it!). A bit of dodgy weather as well but once we got going out to Santiago and San Pedro it had cleared nicely. Chichi superbly colourful and Antigua felt almost like being back in Europe - very savvy. Recommend Don Martin highly for dining ( a level above Panza Verde we thought) and though initially cautious about the location of Lions Inn, it turned out to be excellent. Tikal sublime - the best bird-spotting I've ever experienced-and a definite advantage staying on the grounds at Tikal Inn - managed sunrise and sunset , as well as midday!
So , all in all ,we couldn't fault the arrangements and many thanks again for arranging what you did. We swore on departure we'd be back in the same area the same time next year - do you operate in Costa Rica/Panama?
David and Michael - San Francisco, CA
Nicaragua & Guatemala Tour
Wow...what a trip.! Thank you for putting together all the details. Your coordination and hardwork did not go unnoticed. It was one of the most memorable trips we've shared. The country, the people, the culture were all superlative. Not to mention the accomadations and our driver... Cesar was kind and good-hearted, we were so happy to have made his acquaintance!
Only once in the trip did we encounter the unexpected. It was at the airport before boarding the TACA plane to Peten. We were not aware of the regional airlines strict baggage restrictions and had to pay $41 US dollars each way as a fine for extra baggage. We wish you had made us aware of this restriction and than we would of had the other 3 bags we were not using brought earlier to the hotel Quinta Real in Guatemala City to be held.
We hope this feedback helps. We will not hesitate to recommend Tropical Discovery to family and friends planning a trip to either Belize or Guatemala. Let us know if you have any additional questions. Take care for now and muchas gracias again for everything... Sincerely,
Mario and Scott - San Francisco, CA
It was great and Tikal was the highlight. We thought the guide was excellent. I wish we had spent another day there. There is so much to see. Thanks much for your help. Everything went just perfectly.
Mike Herrell - San Francisco, CA
Tikal Guatemala Tour
We just arrived back from Mexico a couple of hours ago and we are relaxed and happy (other than needing to return home!)....the trip was absolutely FANTASTIC!!!! I will give you more details in the next two days as I want to give you all the details. We have already talked about heading back to Central America....Well, I better deal with the hundreds of email that await me...but I will give you more details in the next days. Before going, Never and I would like to thank you for providing us with one of the most memorable trips that we have taken. We try to travel two to three times a year, and this experience was unbelievable for us. Words cannot express what a great holiday this was.
Until I write back, have a wonderful time. I am very envious of you if you are reading this in Antigua! All of our best,
Greg Immel - San Francisco, CA
Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, Yucatan Tour
Maureen sent on your email for some feedback on the trip from us. Jim and I thoroughly enjoyed the trip and the variety. Your office was extremely responsive whenever we had a question, which was rare. We think your country is beautiful and the people are lovely! Jim and I are probably a bit less fussy than Maureen, who is of course staying in a room alone, so we did not mind the rooms at the Islata de Gaia. I guess our favorite resort was Lake Atitlan, but each location was unique and interesting. My only regret is that we didn't have more time to enjoy each location. We would definitely travel with Tropical Discovery again. Thank you for making this an enjoyable and interesting holiday. Best regards,
Pat and Jim Prevet - London, UK
We had a wonderful trip, thanks to your planning! We enjoyed the way the trip was organized, with a lot of activity in the beginning, then some downtime. We loved the ruins, and had a great guide for Tikal. The Pacific was beautiful, but, spoiled city-person that I am, I had some trouble adjusting to the rustic rooms at the Eco-Lodge and Islata de Gaia--but the Prevets loved the places. The New Year's Eve dinner was special, and included a gift which was much appreciated. Both hotels in Antigua were great--the restaurant at Meson Panza Verde was special and the Mansion et Pensativo facilities were just incredible--wished we had more time there. We visited with friends in Antigua and looked at a model home in a development in Antigua--who knows what retirement will bring?!
I fell in love with the lake and hotel in Atitlan--I can't wait to go back, and I know the Prevets feel the same way. The drivers were great, and well-versed in traveling around Guatemala. So, overall, a wonderful trip, and thanks to you for organizing it.
Maureen - Floral Park, NY
I want to say I had a wonderful time and everything you arranged was perfect. The hotel was absolutely amazing, the daily activities, the food etc...I have been ranting and raving to all my friends and I assure you more business in the future. If you ever need anything in New Orleans, Miami, or Aspen I would be glad to help you. Please stay in touch. Al the best,
Chapman Ducote - Miami, FL
Guatemala 4 day weekend
Thanks for all your help with the Guatemala trip. Everything was perfect. Holly and I both enjoyed the entire vacation and we cannot wait to return someday soon. Thank you again for all of the arrangements and for answering all my questions about my weekend trips. I am forwarding you some pictures from the trip feel free to use them as you wish. We would also be glad to serve as a reference at any time since the service was unmatched.
Holly and Brian Zanoni - Houston, TX
Thanks so much for putting together a great trip for our group. I was very impressed with the company's ability to truly understand our need and deliver a trip that far exceeded our expectations. We will definitely be using Tropical Discovery for future travel plans to Central America.
Gannon Tidwell - San Francisco, CA
"Thanks so much" for putting together a fantastic trip!! Morgan's Rock Eco lodge was amazing - everything was 1st class , the accommodations, the food and the hospitality! And to match the surf was incredible...I'm already looking forward next years trip!!
John Ward - San Francisco, CA
Thank you for all of your help in planning our surf trip to Nicaragua. The accommodations were great and you hooked us up with friendly and knowledgeable transportation. I would have never felt comfortable in such a foreign country without your help! The coastline was beautiful and we had consistent uncrowded surf throughout the week. Thanks again! It was great getting to know you & hope to do it again soon.
Scott Gilliam - San Diego, CA
I had a wonderful time. Thanks for making the arrangements for me. Bernie was awesome. I was the only guest at the lodge and he was a great host. He was also an exceptional guide with an encyclopedic knowledge of the ruins. It was a short but excellent trip. Thanks again for all your assistance.
Raymond - New York City
Tikal Guatemala Tour
Thanks so much for a first class trip. It is nice to go on a vacation and have everything taken care of. Our accommodations where perfect and the food was awesome. I can't wait for our next adventure down to Nicaragua for pristine coastline and perfect uncrowned surf. Thanks again.
Lance Petit - San Diego, CA
Thank your for your kind mail. We are enchanted with our stay in Guatemala. I confess the trip was perfectly organized. The people you employed were very punctual and friendly. I think that our choice to stay in small “charm hotels” was the right one. I found those much more agreeable than the Sto. Domingo Hotel. Bernie was top. Quite a character. And a great worker too. We are now waiting for you in Portugal. That would be nice. Thank you again, Ken, for having taken care of us in such a friendly but very professional way. It was perfect. Best wishes...
Robert Feld - Lisboa Portugal
Guatemala & Honduras Vacation
It was with great pleasure that I received your e-mail from the 11th which I write back to you today since I have just arrived back from Belgium and Holland. I thank you once again for the work and assistance which you have given to me in my stay in Antigua city which I have learned to like very dearly. I felt very well and at ease in the Hotel Casa Mayor, where the staff was attentive, friendly and efficient. Everything was impeccable.
Manuel Ferreira-Enes - Cascais Portugal
I cannot thank you and your team enough for sharing your beautiful country with us! We had so much fun and are so appreciative of your 'local' perspective and knowledge. We appreciate you generosity & talent for putting such a dynamic trip together for us.
All the best.. always
Jill Hatton - New York, USA
Thank you so much for the wonderful ecological and cultural experience you shared with us. From snorkeling Belize, hiking volcanoes, visiting ancient Mayan ruins, mountain biking scenic roads and paths, to horseback riding through the back country, your trip was simply incredible! I cannot wait until our next vacation in Central America!
Dave - Miami, USA
Guatemala and Belize Vacation
We had a wonderful time both in Placencia and up north by San Pedro. The Turtle Inn was amazing resort. It was pure paradise. Portofino was excellent choice as well. Your company was great to work with and provided excellent service. You were very attentive and worked with me to put together the perfect vacation itinerary. Thanks for all your help and I'm sure I will be contacting you in the future!
Feel free to publish my comments.
Erin - New York, USA
The trip was wonderful. Our tour guide was awesome. He did not just drive us to our destination, he conversed truly to explain things of interest as we passed them. Service was prompt and courteous. On the way to Lake Atitlan, he showed us a road where water flowed uphill. This was the first trip where I was not driving, and it made for a very pleasant experience to enjoy the sights which otherwise could have been missed. I would recommend to everyone travelling to Guatemala to ask for our tour guide. He was absolutely wonderful.
You have my permission to post comments on your website. I was very pleased with the service that you and your staff provided. Courteousness that was conveyed to us and friendliness that we enjoyed while visiting Guatemala. We met other Tropical Discovery tour guide while we were visiting National Palace and he was equally courteous and friendly. I have saved your information and will contact you for future trips that I plan.
Sohail - Texas, USA
I am very well thank you - just trying to get over my jet-lag as we only returned from Honduras on Sunday.
Our vacation in Guatemala was great thank you. Looking back at our weeks in Central America our fondest memories are of Guatemala and the things we did via Tropical Discovery. Valentin and I found the people in Guatemala to be very friendly indeed and keen to help and welcome us to their country. The countryside was stunning and the markets and villages were interesting and engaging.
We really felt at home in Antigua. The hotel was excellent - particularly breakfast on the roof terrace. The only downside of the hotel is that it is a little noisy as it is positioned on a road junction (and there were building works in the house next door when we were there). Despite the noise I would definitely recommend this hotel to others. The town of Antigua had a good range of bars and restaurants and lots of things to do. We particularly liked visiting a coffee plantation.
The market at Chichi was great. We loved the hustle and bustle and vast array of products and food. At this point I'd really like to mention our driver (Hidoor - I am sure that isn't how you spell his name!! Sorry.) as he was excellent throughout the week. Each time he picked us up he was punctual, super-friendly and keen to share information and advice. At Chichi he even gave us a tour of the village and market. I would recommend that you use him again in the future as he was very professional.
Lake Atitlan was beautiful. The setting of Hotel Atitlan was stunning and we really liked having the pool and jacuzzi to use. We took a day trip across the lake to Santiago and also enjoyed exploring the other villages nearby. We liked the hotel but found the breakfast to be very expensive and the staff on the reception desk were not very friendly or helpful. When we arrived at 2pm we were told we could not have our room until 3pm even though it was obvious that the hotel was less than half full and our room was more than likely empty.
Even though our initial flight to Flores was cancelled it really wasn't a problem as TACA put us in a 5 star hotel which was very nice indeed! I would also like to thank you Gabriela for being so efficient and rearranging the Tikal tour for us. It really was peace of mind to know we had your mobile number. I really appreciate your professionalism and the fact that even though you weren't in the office you still took time to help us. Thanks!
Tikal was amazing and was perhaps the highlight of our trip. Our guide Aquilino was very knowledgeable and friendly with a good sense of humour. His English was excellent and I'd definitely recommend that you use him again in the future. The Camino Real Tikal Hotel was in an excellent location on the lake but we felt that the hotel itself was a little 'tired'. The rooms weren't so well furbished and the other areas of the hotel could do with updating. I know this hotel was a substitute for the La Lancha so I suppose the La Lancha is probably a little nicer.
Our flight from Flores to Belize City was great as we had a tiny 6 seater plane and saw lots of amazing countryside. Thank you for organising that.
I'd also like to add that I really appreciated it when you phoned us to check how things were going. I felt that this was a really friendly and professional thing to do and it just added to the excellent impression we have of you and Tropical Discovery. I will definitely recommend Tropical Discovery to my friends and family as every aspect of our holiday from my initial enquiry, to booking, invoicing, changes to the itinerary, the welcome pack etc was outstanding. We really felt you provided a highly professional and friendly service as well as being great advocates for Guatemala.
Please use any of my comments as you see fit and thank you once again.
Kate - London, UK
Thank you for your excellent arrangements for our medical group in Antigua. The Meson is a wonderful hotel, and we were so glad we all could be there the full time. Giovanni and Edgardo are such good guys. Both of them are experts in their field. Sheryl and I had wonderful comments from our friends on the trip. We had a wonderful time. And the magic words for someone in tourism are: We’ll be back!!
Joe – California, US
Our trip was fabulous! Each part was special in its own way. We loved all of the hotels, and all of the venues. The drivers were helpful, thoughtful, informative and very nice. We especially loved Antigua and hope to go back in the future. With many thanks for your assistance. You helped us plan one of the best trips we have ever taken!
With sincere thanks. Regards,
Alice & Mark - Massachusetts, US
Our vacation in Guatemala was amazing. Thank you so very much for your assistance with all the planning. As this was my second trip to Guatemala this year, the country and its friendly people, interesting culture both indigenous and ancient, and the spectacular natural beauty make this a place I plan on visiting again in the future. The hotels and service were excellent. The drivers always arrived on time and our driver Manuel, who picked us up at the beginning and at the end of our trip was extraordinary both as a professional driver but as a great ambassador for the company and the country of Guatemala.
Our boat and captain on Lake Izabal was wonderful. He didn’t speak English, but I speak and understand enough Spanish that we had a great time with him. His not speaking English might have been a problem for another couple but not for us. We loved Quinta de las Flores, La Lancha was fabulous and the setting and location of Nana Juana was great.
Our guide in Tikal was outstanding!!!!! I had been there in Feb. and had a young tour guide that was just starting out and did not have a great depth of knowledge about the Tikal and the Mayan culture. The guide we had, Juan, was like an encyclopedia of knowledge and very fun to be with. A great experience.
We could not be more pleased with the exceptional service and planning assistance that Tropical Discovery offered us when putting together our trip to Guatemala and Honduras. We would utilized your company again when visiting this part of Central America or adventuring out to other parts of this beautiful and amazing part of the world. Thank you for making it so easy for us and for the outstanding service offered by your staff and company.
Steven - Massachusetts, US
Guatemala & Honduras Vacation
Ahh buenos dias..I was just thinking I should send you an email
The driver we had from Guatemala to Xela and then from Antigua to Guatemala was great. My daughter got car sick on the way to Xela and he was very understanding about the need to pull over, etc., unfortunately my daughter was sick the day we left Antigua so again he was very compassionate.
The roads were much windier than we had thought they would be and unfortunately dramamine only worked for one of us. We were taken to a place for breakfast which worked out well.
The hotel in Xela was very pretty.....we were on the third floor so we got a workout each time. The room was fabulous...
The hotel in Panajachel was excellent. Our boat and tour guide were excellent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We tipped each afterwards… even the boat driver's son had a great smile.
The hotel in Antigua was beautiful, great location.
All in all we were very happy with your services and would highly recommend your company to anyone who asked as well as would be happy to answer any questions to any of your future clients.
Marilyn - US
The trip went very smoothly. Pico Bonito Lodge is incredible. The people in Honduras were so kind. There were always so many of them around to do jobs--it was confusing to know when and how much to tip. You did a great job of planning the tour and it worked out well.
Valerie & Kelly - Minnesota, US
Thanks so much for helping pull the trip together, it was great, and totally fine to publish feedback.
The trip was great. First of all, we arranged everything very last minute and were impressed by Tropical Discovery's responsiveness and organization, particularly for a 14 hour day excursion!. We flew into Chiapas late Friday and got up early Saturday to find Marco, our driver and car waiting outside the hotel. Marco was great - knew an incredible amount about the ruins of Palenque and everything about Chiapas and the area more broadly, but was also eager to make sure everything was tailored to our needs. The car and driving were safe and comfortable - on our return trip we were caught in a rainstorm and fog after dark coming into the city but Marco was a great driver and we felt completely safe and fine the whole time. Everything was hassle free and exactly what we wanted. Also, head for the Palenque and Agua Azul excursion from San Cristobal may seem expensive but figuring in the distance traveled - nearly five hours each way, safe car and wonderful driver, entry fees and guided tour - it really wasn't an exorbitant cost in the end. Palenque was incredible - it's a long trip but certainly worth the trip! We've seen ruins before, but nothing like this jungle city! As they say here, certainly vale la pena!
Jessie - New York City, S
Our trip was just amazing and really did surpass our expectations. Thank you for organizing this amazing experience for us, you were really great from the very beginning putting together our itinerary and taking care of every detail. From the moment we arrived to Belize everything was perfect, and we didn't have to worry about a thing. The hospitality we were shown by everyone from hotel staff to tour guides to people we've met while out and about was simply incredible. We felt safe and welcome everywhere we went.
The accommodations are absolutely in a class of their own, especially Blancaneaux lodge. It's such a unique place, so peaceful and beautiful, definitely unlike anything we've experienced before, though we do travel quite a bit. Turtle Inn was beautiful as well and we loved Placencia, but we all came away from this trip in love with Mountain Pine Ridge, Blancaneaux and everything we got to experience while we were staying there.
The tour guides deserve a separate mention as well. The wealth of knowledge they shared with us was amazing, we learned so much about the country, the people, the customs and of course the sites we were seeing. Most of them have degrees in archeology, so going to see Mayan sites was not only adventurous, but also a learning experience.
Really, everything was as good as it can get - the people, the service, the accommodations, the food and the experience. All four of us wished only that we didn't have to leave Belize :) And we would definitely, definitely go with Tropical Discovery on another trip, hopefully soon!
Thanks for everything Gabriela - you've been wonderful. And yes of course feel free to use our feedback on your website etc. if you would like. :)
Lena - California, US
The thing that made my top ten list was Tikal. For me, this was the highlight of our Guatemala vacation.
We had an exceptional guide, Antonio Ortiz, whose father had established the Jungle Lodge. His knowledge, enthusiasm, and interpretive skills were unsurpassed. We even contracted with him for a second day of exploring the ruins at Tikal and the jungle. I had first wanted to visit Mayan ruins when I studied the Mayans in eighth grade history, some 50 years ago, and this visit to Tikal -- with Antonio Ortiz as our guide -- surpassed my expectations or hopes.
The Jungle Lodge is a bit rustic but the people were great. The food was good, and it was better than the other accommodations in Tikal. It could stand some modernizing to bring it up to contemporary norms for American tourists.
The Hotel in Atitlan was luxurious and was, in itself, worth the trip. Beautiful decorations, lovely rooms, great food, gracious service. My kids had never experienced anything quite like this.
We had a great, relaxed stay at the Westin the night before leaving. We had time to enjoy the beautiful pool and our best Guatemalan tipica food at a nearby restaurant, Kacao.
Thanks for you help with this vacation.
Bruce - Washington, DC, US
We had a brilliant time on the holiday absolutely excellent. Every thing went very well and was expertly organised. Thanks a million for all your help
Paul - Ireland
Mexico & Guatemala Vacation